With the exception of Paul Pogba, perhaps no player gets criticized by football commentator Graham Souness as much as Jack Grealish. The Manchester City winger, the first 100 million GBP player ever, has received a lot more scrutiny since he moved over from Aston Villa in the summer of 2021. Last seaso, he registered just three goals and three assists, numbers that were identical to Jadon Sancho, another English winger who moved over on a big money deal to a Manchester club (United) in summer 2021.
But while Sancho has gotten off to a pretty good start at United this summer, we’re still waiting on Grealish to fulfill his potential with City.
That said, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Souness is really spot on with his critiques. Grealish hit back at Souness yesterday, and the former Liverpool midfielder/now media pundit has since responded to the eye-brow raising comments made by the Man City player on Wednesday.
“I don’t know what his problem is with me,” Grealish said at an England national team press conference ahead of their UEFA Nations League clashes this week/weekend.
“He always says stuff about me. But I try not to read a lot of it. It is difficult, you know, when he’s on Sky Sports and it’s everywhere around the training ground at times.
“Listen, he was obviously a great player and won a lot but I know he has a lot of stuff to … I don’t know what it is with what he says about me or what problem he’s got. I know my own ability.
“I know before that he used to say a lot of stuff about me not moving the ball quicker but when I’m playing for a manager like Pep Guardiola and he’s telling me to keep the ball as much as I can and have balls to take it everywhere, that’s what I’ll try and do.
“Obviously I am always going to have people, if I’m not playing well … listen, I know within myself, I always watch my games back and stuff like this and I am very critical of myself.
“I know that there were games, especially in the second half of last season, where I wasn’t at my best at all.”
The 27-year-old Grealish started only 22 games for City last season, and he’s also missed three weeks this term. He started the season opener at West Ham United, but suffered an ankle injury in a second substitute role against AFC Bournemouth.
“Unfortunately for me, I came back in pre-season, I came back fit where I’d had a strong pre-season and then got injured in the second game,” Grealish continued.
? “I’d love a night out with Jack!”
? “I’m not sure I could stay with him, but I’d enjoy a night out with him!”
Graeme Souness admits he’d love to go out for a beer with #MCFC’s Grealish!
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) September 22, 2022
“But from now on, I’m just going to try and get my head down and try and get that fitness back because I know I’m not at 100% yet. I think I’ve only played one 90 minutes this season. But yeah, I think I’ll always have people on the back of me but I’ve just got to try and go and perform.”
When Souness got word of what Grealish said about his critiques, he responded by saying that he doesn’t have a “vendetta” against him. He also made some more condescending remarks about him, and football players in general these days (because of course), but then said he’d like to go out on the town with Grealish, and maybe have a beer with him.
— mcfc lads (@mcfc_lads) September 22, 2022
He’s also right when he says he might not be able to keep up with him. You know all about the party reputation of Jack Grealish, and it is well deserved. And you got to love the Twitter response here by Grealish- referencing Paul Pogba. It brought it all back full circle.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks