Jack Grealish has been urged to show some improvement to be worthy of his £100 million price tag in Manchester City’s hyper-competitive squad.
Former Manchester City midfielder and England legend Steve McManaman gave this message to the 26-year-old midfielder while speaking in an interview with horseracing.net.
Grealish, Premier League’s first £100 million man, has had a below average start to life at the Etihad, scoring just three goals for City since joining from Aston Villa over the summer.
City manager Pep Guardiola is known for his constant squad rotation as nobody in the squad is considered an absolute starter.
However, many expected a player of Grealish’s talents to be one of the untouchables in the City squad given the fee paid for his transfer.
He has yet to prove his worth, and McManaman has urged him to do so soon, while also noting that his price tag is why there’s so much attention on the player.
“There’s more scrutiny because of the price tag,” McManaman told horseracing.net.
“If he had gone to City for £10m, no one would be interested. But as soon as he went to £100m and he became the most expensive player, of course there’s more attention on him and his performances.
“He does have to improve.
“Working with Pep Guardiola will make him better. He does have to be a little bit quicker, because Manchester City play quicker than the way he played at Aston Villa, but he’ll be fine.”
Guardiola warned about the possibility of losing Grealish following recent actions
Jack Grealish scored his second Premier League goal for City in their 7-0 thrashing of Leeds United and went out to celebrate with teammate Phil Foden, to the chagrin of manager Guardiola.
As a result, both players were left out of the squad which thrashed Newcastle United the following week.
Explaining the decision, Guardiola said: “I pay a lot of attention to behaviour on and off the pitch. And when off the pitch is not proper they are not going to play.
“In our careers, the work you do on and off the pitch is the same importance, the same. It’s so important.
“It’s so demanding physically and mentally – you have to live for your profession. All the time, every single second.
“But this is the message I’ve given to them, six years ago, every year, every month, every day many times.”
While Grealish’s (and Foden’s) punishment only lasted one game, Guardiola’s approach has been questioned by Alan Brazil of talkSPORT, who warned Guardiola of the possibility of the midfielder choosing to leave the club if he keeps getting these treatments.
“What if Grealish and Foden said ‘fine, we don’t think we’ve done too much wrong, we’re off, end of the season, we’re off’,” Brazil said on a talkSPORT show.
“The point I’m trying to make is that we don’t know how bad it was or if it was much ado about nothing.
“What I do know is that they are two great young players and that would be a huge blow if City were to lose them.
“Two top young players. Suddenly they go to Barcelona or to Real Madrid. Barcelona’s pedigree is way, way, way above Manchester City.”
Grealish opens up about time at Man City
The midfielder has come out to say that he didn’t expect what he’s currently facing at the Etihad, saying that it has been “much more difficult” than he expected.
In an interview with Sky Sports to mark his first six months at City and as the Premier League’s first £100 million man, Grealish spoke about his time so far at City under Guardiola.
“I’ve done okay so far,” he said. “I’ve got so much more to give. It’s been so much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. I’m still learning and adapting. I’ve heard some people take a year to adapt here so maybe it will be the same for me. I want to score more and set up more goals next year.
Grealish also admitted that he needs to work more to justify his price tag, while admitting that he feels privileged to be considered talented enough for that price tag.
“Having a £100m price tag means when you are going through a dry patch people ask if you are worth the money – where are his goals, where are his assists?
“I understand that, but I have to see it as a privilege that the club wanted to spend that much money on me and I hope I can repay them with goals and trophies.”