Few players have become more accustomed to receiving criticism than Manchester City’s Jack Grealish.
The Birmingham native has received an incredible amount of attention for his performances since joining his youth club Aston Villa for a £100m fee, making him the most expensive English player in history.
It’s understandable why many would expect big things from the winger after City paid such a substantial fee for the 27-year-old.
However, since joining the Sky Blues, it’s fair to say that Grealish’s output has clearly declined.
In the 2020/21 season with Villa Grealish, he registered an impressive 18 goals, but amassed just six with his new club the following season – a total of three times less than his output in the previous season.
While Pep Guardiola has been happy to emphasize that the England man has not been brought to the club specifically for goals and assists, it is understandable why many people would expect greater numbers due to his significant transfer fee and why the lack of direct goal contributions has led to criticism from certain pundits .
One of the most recent high-profile football personalities to criticize Grealish was Liverpool legend Graeme Souness, who said the former Villa man is not a ‘great footballer’ and claimed the winger is holding the ball for too long.
Grealish then fired back at the former Rangers man in an interview with The Guardian, saying: “I don’t know what his problem is with me.”
The winger would also explain how his manager Pep Guardiola has instructed him to keep the ball ‘as much’ as he can.
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Souness has now responded to the English man and has sought to negate any animosity between the two. “I have no problem with Grealish, I have no problem with anyone”, said the former midfielder on TalkSPORT.
“I’m sure if I met Jack, I’d really like him. He’s a cheeky guy and I’d like to have a night out with him too, but I feel like the modern player isn’t very good at taking criticism.
“I have no vendetta against anyone at all, this is just my opinion of Grealish at the moment. And really, Jack doesn’t have to listen to me, he doesn’t have to listen to anyone. The only opinion that should count for Grealish is his manager.”
The Sky Sports expert added: “So there is absolutely no agenda against Jack. I would like to have a night out with him, not sure if I could stay with him but I would enjoy a night out with him.
“He has to choose who he listens to, and if he decides my opinion isn’t worth listening to, I can live with that.”
With this mini-feud now seemingly resolved, Grealish will turn his attention to international duties with England after the winger was named to Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad.
The Three Lions take on Italy tomorrow and host rivals Germany in UEFA Nations League action next Monday.