ISRAELI international left-back Najwan Ghrayib levelled an astonishing parting shot at Aston Villa manager John Gregory, after he left the Midlands on Tuesday to join former club Hapoel Haifa at a cut-rate price.

In a scathing attack, the outspoken player blamed Gregory's proclivity towards regular Alan Wright for his lack of first-team opportunities.Ghrayib bemoaned: "If Alan Wright signed for Hapoel Haifa he would not get a game. He is good only defensively and yet he is God-like to John Gregory."

But it would appear that the Israeli had not been checking his facts, as Opta can reveal that Wright is actually one of the best attacking full-backs currently in The Premiership.

Indeed, no other defender can match Wright's total of four goal assists this season, while only Leeds' Ian Harte and Michael Gray of high-flying Sunderland have higher cross completion rates than the Englishman's 31%.

Ghrayib's comments come after the Nazareth-born player's efforts to usurp Wright from the team failed last season, and the 27-year-old started just one Premiership game and spent most of his time warming the substitutes' bench.

And it is easy to see why Gregory 'did the Wright thing' and has continued with his diminutive full-back in 2000-01. The former Blackburn star showed his attacking credentials by netting a cracker against Derby earlier in the season - his fifth goal in a Villa shirt - and Wright holds the best passing accuracy in the opposition's half of any first-choice Premiership defender.

So it would appear to be a case of 'sour grapes' for Ghrayib after failing to make an impression in The Premiership. Not only has Wright proved himself to be one of the most reliable players in the top-flight, but also adds a real attacking edge to a Villa team often accused this season of lacking in firepower up front.


Phil Othen

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