'He always says stuff about me!' – Jack Grealish laughs off Graeme Souness jibes

The Sky Sports pundit said this week said that the 27-year-old is “not a great player” and should have improved more since joining City.

Jack Grealish.
Jack Grealish.
Image: PA

JACK GREALISH SAYS Pep Guardiola wants him to “have balls” in possession as the Manchester City attacking midfielder laughed off Graeme Souness’ latest criticism of him and his style.

It is just over a year since the homegrown Aston Villa star made an eye-catching £10 0million switch to the Etihad Stadium.

Grealish says the increased pressure and scrutiny is “part and parcel” of representing City and England, with that mentality perhaps explaining why he was able to take Souness’ latest jibes in his stride.

The former Scotland star this week said that the 27-year-old is “not a great player” and should have improved more since joining City, where he thought he would think quicker and move the ball quicker.

“I don’t know what his problem is with me,” Grealish said with a laugh. “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 talkSPORT, or Sky Sports, and it’s everywhere around the training ground at times.

brighton-and-hove-albion-v-manchester-city-premier-league-amex-stadium Pundit Graeme Souness. Source: John Walton

“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 (criticising). 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.

“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.

“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 per cent 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.”

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Grealish appears to take everything in his stride, admitting scrutiny “probably affects my family more than it does me” having learned to deal with it over the years.

wolverhampton-wanderers-v-manchester-city-premier-league-molineux-stadium Grealish celebrates his goal last weekend. Source: PA

“It’s more if someone like my mum or my dad was saying it, I’d listen a lot more,” he said ahead of England’s Nations League clash in Italy on Friday.

“But, yeah, sometimes when people are saying it – whether it be trolls on Twitter or Instagram or stuff like that – that doesn’t bother me at all.

“I think that’s just part and parcel of what we have playing for the national team and playing for big clubs in England.”

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