Aston Villa legend Lee Hendrie believes Jack Grealish is lucky the fan who punched him didn’t do anything worse.
Grealish thankfully appeared unhurt after Birmingham fan Paul Mitchell invaded the pitch and struck him on the side of the head during a shocking Second City derby.
The 23-year-old even recovered to score the winner in Villa’s 1-0 victory at St Andrew’s.
And Hendrie suggests the offender could’ve inflicted serious harm on Grealish once he got to the player.
“To do what he did to Jack was just absolutely despicable. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” he told talkSPORT.
“I look back at the [Chris] Kirkland incident where the guy’s come on and pushed Chris in the face, but to be there and witness it was absolutely disgusting.
“Jack’s lucky in my eyes. How do we know [what people might do]? These days, the society we’re in – knife crime is at its highest, people are doing things which we don’t expect.
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“In my view, looking at that, it could’ve been a hell of a lot worse. Where do you draw the line?”
Hendrie also heaped praise on Grealish for his response to the incident, and described him as a role model for young people.
“I love the way he responded in his interview, he just said it how it was, ‘I’ve had the best day of my life and I’ve scored the goal’, Hendrie added.
“That’s something that young people should be looking at and taking on board. People like that idiot who runs on and tries to cause so many problems.
“It hasn’t fazed him one bit, as you can see, he went and scored the winner and Villa went on to a fantastic victory.”
Mitchell, 27, pleaded guilty to charges of pitch invasion and assault at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
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The Grealish incident was just one of several which shamed British football over the weekend.
An Arsenal fan was arrested after invading the pitch and confronting Manchester United defender Chris Smalling, while Rangers captain James Tavernier was forced to fend off an aggressive Hibs fan.