Jack Grealish has told Prince William that he hopes to be back in action for Aston Villa within 10 days.
The Villa captain has been sidelined with a shin injury since the middle of February, and Dean Smith’s side have only won three of the 11 matches he has missed.
Villa have been reluctant to put a time-frame on Grealish’s return but, speaking to the Duke on Tuesday, the 25-year-old playmaker said: “I’m hoping a week to 10 days.”
The Duke of Cambridge, a Villa fan, was at the club’s Bodymoor Heath training ground to open its new high performance centre.
Grealish’s previous attempt at a comeback had to be aborted but, speaking ahead of Villa’s victory over Everton on Saturday, Smith said: “Jack’s scan came back positive so we are gradually starting to load him this week. We are a bit tentative with what happened last time.”
Villa’s clash with Manchester United on Sunday is likely to come too soon for Grealish but he could potentially be in contention for next Thursday’s home match against Everton.
Meanwhile, Roy Keane has urged United to make a statement signing this summer, with either Grealish or Harry Kane the player he would go for.
He said: “United need to go and make a big, big signing, whether it’s Kane or Grealish – put a marker down.
“OK, they need another centre-half, but I still think at the top end of the pitch, when you look at some of the games this year that they’ve drawn, they’ve lacked that real bit of quality.
“They’ve got some brilliant players and I agree that there’s been progress,” Keane said. “The worry for Manchester United is the next step is the biggest and the hardest one, to go and get that league title.
“Liverpool were brilliant last year, Man City excellent this season but United are still a bit short.
“The worry for me now is that we’re looking at United and saying they’ve made progress, but look at the financial side, off the pitch at United as if the remit for Ole will be finishing in the top four, or finishing second, wanting to get into the Champions League. But it has to be about winning trophies.”