Jack Grealish hits back at criticism from talkSPORT pundit Graeme Souness after his comments made on the radio station earlier this week.
Grealish has been accused by the former Liverpool midfielder of taking too many touches on the ball and falling short of expectations since he set a Premier League record with his £100 million move to Manchester City.
Souness, speaking on talkSPORT, had said: “I understand why people think he is better than what he actually is because he runs with the ball and he gets you on the edge of your seat, but he doesn’t deliver enough”.
The England forward responded: “I don’t know what his problem is with me.
“He always says stuff about me, but I try not to read a lot of it.
“It is difficult when he’s on Sky Sports and it’s everywhere around the training ground.
“Listen, he was obviously a great player and won a lot, but 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.”
✅ “Grealish is doing absolutely fine!”
🤔 “Could he do more? You’re right, he could get more goals and more assists.”
👀 “If we compare Foden, he plays with more freedom and takes more chances.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) September 22, 2022
Grealish, 27, scored his first goal of the season against Wolves after admitting he was unhappy with his performances on his return from injury. His team-mate Kevin De Bruyne spoke about English players being under more scrutiny than foreign counterparts and of Grealish being an easy target for criticism.
“I can see where he [De Bruyne] is coming from a little bit,” said Grealish, ahead of England’s Nations League clash with Italy on Thursday.
“But I think that’s just the way it is in this country. Especially if you’re myself, playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, who are winning trophies every single year.
“And, obviously, when I have the price tag on my head that I have, people are going to want to talk.
“It’s just something that I need to keep going back to, embracing it, it’s just part and parcel really.
“But, yeah, I see where he’s coming from a little bit.
“I’m just like a normal kid, you know.
“I feel like I was just doing what a lot of other footballers are doing, but just sometimes I get more attention when I’m on holiday in Ibiza or Vegas.
“After that, I was posting photos of me working. I don’t know if a lot of people spoke about that.
“I tried to come back as fit as possible and I felt like I did.
“I’ve seen the manager said that a few times about me.
“I know what I’m like, and how professional I actually am, and hopefully I can just get my performances back to where I was when I’m playing at my best.”
Grealish won the title in his first year at the title holders, but recently said he wanted an improvement in his form and admits there has been a change of culture that he has needed to adapt to since his move.
Last season, Guardiola publicly warned Grealish and England team-mate Phil Foden over their ill-discipline off the pitch and dropped them from one game.
“It’s completely different to the way it was at Villa. I think at Villa I was more free,” Grealish said.
“At City, there’s more structure.
“I have a great relationship with the manager.
“I have never seen anything like it in the way he thinks and the way he looks at football.
“He’s just obsessed with it and you can tell why and see why.
“I know people might be saying I might be playing a bit different to the way I used to, but I think that comes with the players I am playing with as well.
“I am playing with so many top players, it was obviously going to change my game a bit.
“I’m never going to be the exact same player that I was, because I am playing for a different club, a different team and a different manager.
“Hopefully, this is the start of my season and I can just kick on from here.”
🗣️ “He [Graeme Souness] has a lot of stuff to say, I don’t know what it is or what problem he’s got. When I signed for [Man] City I knew it wasn’t going to be all laughs unless I started the way Erling Haaland did.”
Jack Grealish on criticism from Graeme Souness. pic.twitter.com/whQKUYuZCx
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 22, 2022
Grealish says he is now toughened to the criticism he gets on and off the pitch but is not immune to having his performances scrutinised.
“Obviously, I’m not going to sit here and say ‘nothing ever affects me’, because it does sometimes. I’m a 27-year-old kid so I’ve had to learn to deal with it,” he said.
“I’ve had to learn to deal with it. It’s more if someone like my mum or my dad was saying it, I’d listen a lot more. But yeah, sometimes when people are saying it, whether it is trolls on Twitter or Instagram or stuff like that, that doesn’t bother me at all.
“That’s just part and parcel of what we have playing for the national team and playing for big clubs in England.
“I don’t think I’m the only one, I think there’s quite a few. I think we just have to learn to deal with that. Obviously, over time, I’ve learnt to deal with it.
“When I signed for Man City and the price that came with it, I knew it wasn’t going to all be laughs unless I started the way Erling Haaland did. That’s the only way I wouldn’t get caned.”
Earlier this week, Graeme Souness said Jack Grealish is a ‘good, not great’ player and outlined reasons why he thinks the Man City forward is overrated.
“He is a good footballer. He is not a great player,” Souness told talkSPORT.
“He is a good player who got a big move and is yet to do it at Man City.
“I go back to the days at Villa and for two years he was the most fouled player in the Premier League.
“I see that two ways. You’re having too many touches if you’re the most fouled player. And the reason you’re having too many touches is because you’re not seeing the picture quickly enough.
“I understand why people think he is better than he actually is – because he runs with the ball and gets you on the edge of your seat.
“But he doesn’t deliver enough. He doesn’t see the right picture and he doesn’t deliver it quickly enough.
“If he was a star every week, we would not be having this type of conversation about him.
“I was willing to cut him some slack, because there is some kind of dribbling talent there.
“I look back on my own career and there was never a watershed moment where someone sat me down and told me how to get to the next level.
“I improved because I went to the best club in the wolrd at the time, Liverpool, who had some of the best players in Europe at the time.
“Every single day, I was being asked to think quicker and move the ball quicker, with everything at a faster tempo than I was used to.
“Fortunately, I was able to grasp that quite early on. I thought that would happen to Jack but it hasn’t happened for him.
“I see the same Grealish I saw at Villa a few years ago.”
🤷♂️ “Jack Grealish is not a great player.”
👀 “I understand why people think he is better than he actually is.”
👎 “I see the same Grealish as I saw at #AVFC a couple of years ago.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) September 20, 2022
Fans had their say as Jack Grealish hits back at the criticism received from Graeme Souness…
@Oxford_Sparky: “I’m a 27yr old kid”……… 😳
@Oxford_Sparky: Ppl need to understand that City didn’t buy Grealish because they needed him, they bought him to set Villa back, and to show that, “if we want something we’ll take it”. They stopped anyone else from signing him at the same time. Same MO as Abramovic/Chelsea in earlier times.
@sameert_: Glad someone is finally calling him out.
@joycey777: Don’t see why he’s moaning? Someone had to take over when Pogba left 🤷🏻♂️
@GK101_: He said Grealish isn’t a great player, nor is he worth £100m. Only Pogba can argue Souness has personal agenda 😂
@Charlesa77: Souness was spot on
@dager2787: Looks like #Souness has got a new target in #Grealish 😂😂😂
@Annie_LFC: I do remember seeing an interview with him last season where he said he felt Pep gave him so many different instructions that it left him feeling a bit confused and second guessing himself. Also you’re not ‘a kid’ when you’re 27
@markgreggs87: Fair play to grealish for calling out souness.
@harrishour: But Souness is right. For 100m jack has been shite, no other pundit dares insult english players so someone has to. Pogba got it way worse and never once complained lmao. Grealish a clown
@st3v3npr35ton: You’re a £100m footballer. Do something!!
@Geoff_NUFC: 27 year old man who acts like a kid!!! Needs to keep his mouth shut and let his football do the talking…….. when he can get off the bench!
@jpmobs: What a tw@t you are, what’s he supposed to do?not answer the questions?sorry while on england duty Geoff from Newcastle has told me to keep my mouth shut. You sum up social media.
@NJWesthead: 27 isn’t a kid. Grow up
@Albertschipshop: Criticism like with what he said about a fellow professional Almiron? Double standards.
@Marc_YNWA: I’m a 35 year old teenager
@elbayabdo: 27 year old kid? Therein lies the problem, he sees himself too young to have any responsibility on his shoulders.
He gets hounded on social media but listening to @JackGrealish speaking on England duty I can just hear a player focused on getting better and wanting to impress in a different role. And all fans, and Pep, can ask for is a player committed on the training pitch and matchdays. https://t.co/1yCvOneqrf
— Mike Minay (@MikeMinay) September 21, 2022