Aston Villa boss Dean Smith misses Walsall amicably as ‘he isolates with his family’

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith misses Walsall friendly as ‘he isolates with his family’ as his number 2 Craig Shakespeare takes charge of the first preseason game

  • Aston Villa said Dean Smith was not attending Walsall because he is isolating
  • Assistant Craig Shakespeare took charge for their first preseason friendly
  • At least 10 Villa players contracted the virus after a Covid outbreak in January

Dean Smith missed Aston Villa’s friendly at Walsall on Wednesday while in isolation.

The club did not clarify why Smith, 50, was going into isolation, only announcing that his assistant Craig Shakespeare would take charge of the game for the season.

The statement read: “Aston Villa can confirm that Head Coach Dean Smith will not be attending tonight’s friendly with Walsall as he is currently in isolation with his family.”

Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith missed the team’s friendly against Walsall on Wednesday

Last season, Villa was hit by a Covid outbreak in January, in which at least 10 players from the first team are said to have contracted the virus.

They had to field a squad of reserve and youth players in an FA Cup tie against Liverpool, while league games against Everton and Tottenham were postponed.

Smith’s father, Ron Smith, died in May last year at the age of 79, just four weeks after contracting Covid-19.

The lifelong Villa fan lived in a care home six years ago after being diagnosed with dementia.