Jack Grealish’s start at Man City has been ‘better than maybe he believes’ as the midfielder goes from Championship to Premier League in only a few weeks.
Jack Grealish’s start at Man City has been “better than maybe he believes”. He has already scored twice and assisted in a goal. The 20-year-old is also the youngest player to ever score for Manchester City.
5:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Dawson, Rob Correspondent
Jack Grealish’s debut at Manchester City has been “better than maybe he thinks,” according to Pep Guardiola.
Grealish has revealed that living at the Etihad Stadium has been “tough” after joining from Aston Villa in the summer to become English football’s first £100 million player.
On Wednesday, he returns to Villa Park for the first time with City, and Guardiola has convinced the 26-year-old that his form since his arrival has been satisfactory.
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“I think he’s performed a lot better than he thinks,” Guardiola said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“Perhaps everything began with him at Villa and he was free, but now he’s in a different situation and hasn’t been as determined or clinical in the final third.”
“Perhaps it’s because he respects his peers, or perhaps it’s because he’s in a new environment, which is natural; it’s a process.” He needs more time. Every athlete that comes here for the first season has a difficult time.
“However, given his talent, what he sees and needs to accomplish is so simple for him. Just be yourself and be free here, that’s all there is to it. I don’t tell the players what they must do; they must play.
“You decide what to do when they receive the ball near to the box, my buddy. That’s why you’re Jack Grealish, not someone else. They must play and create their own moments.”
Jack Grealish has nine appearances for Man City in all competitions, scoring one goal. Manchester City/Manchester City FC/Matt McNulty via Getty Images
After missing the past three games due to injury, Grealish is eager to play against his old team.
He’s started every game for City so far this season, although he was benched for the 2-0 victory against Manchester United before the international break because Guardiola went with a front three of Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, and Phil Foden.
“Sometimes it’s the surroundings, a new home, private life, but it’s not only Jack — it’s all the players,” the City manager noted.
“Sometimes you spend your whole life in one area and then go to another, where the expectations are enormous in terms of what you must do. But what if you play badly? Certainly not. I have yet to witness a game in which he did not play to his full potential.”
City are also concerned about the fitness of Foden and Kevin De Bruyne, who have both tested negative for COVID-19 but have yet to resume full training.
Aymeric Laporte is banned after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 2-1 victory against West Ham on Sunday. Ferran Torres is out with an injury, while Aymeric Laporte is suspended.
“In the squad, we have an emergency,” Guardiola stated.
“There are just a few, few, few people.” We never complain when players are unable to play due to injuries or red cards; I have a lot of faith in the team, and new players are always welcome, but we are in serious difficulty for December — the most difficult month of the year — because we have so few players.
“Only 14, 15 players are available. We’re in a tough situation since so many players spend a lot of minutes.”
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