Aston Villa have reportedly banned players partaking in fantasy football competitions due to worries they are unwittingly leaking team news ahead of games.

Millions around the world play Fantasy Premier League, selecting teams with a virtual budget and gaining points based on the real-life performances of the players they have in their squads.

Several Premier League stars have teams in the league too, and The Times are reporting that the activity of some Aston Villa players ahead of their clash with Leicester City on Sunday essentially leaked the news that Jack Grealish would not be playing.

On Friday a Twitter account called FPL Insider reported that some Villa players took Grealish, a former Ireland underage international, out of their fantasy football team, a strong hint that the talismanic midfielder wouldn't be featuring.

As it transpired, the midfielder did not play - he was suffering with shin splints - and afterwards boss Dean Smith struggled to contain his frustration.

"I was made aware that it came out on social media outlining he wasn't going to play and, if it's coming out of our training ground, I will find out where that's coming from and reprimand who it's coming from," he said.

"It's something I wouldn't be happy with so we'll certainly get to the bottom of this."

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