IIt’s easy to see why Jack Grealish called himself a normal kid. The Manchester The winger knows it attracts a lot of attention, some good, some bad, but there was no sign of any vanity during his trial with the media in St George’s Park this week.
“People have a lot to say, whether it’s on social media or critics and the like,” Grealish says as he contemplates whether he has had thicker skin in recent years.
“It’s the biggest sport in the world and everyone wants to talk about it, so you just have to go with the tide.”
Go with the flow: That’s what people want from Grealish when he steps onto the field. Few players are having fun and there must be a lot of pressure on Gareth Southgate to make the former Aston Villa captain a key part of England’s attack at the World Cup.
Despite all the hype around Grealish, there are people who are ready to question whether it deserves a spot on the side. This is a crucial period for the 27-year-old striker. He was a free spirit in Villa, but from the outside it was felt that some joy had been stripped from his game ever since. He joined City for £100m last year.
“In Villa I was more free,” Grealish says. “In City, there are more structures. It will obviously change my game a bit.”
Grealish was quick to stress that he has a good relationship with Pep Guardiola, saying he has never seen anyone with a better understanding of football than the City coach. Yet he knows there is room for improvement. His first year at City wasn’t easy, although he finished it as the league champion, and he was relieved to score his first goal of the season. In a 3-0 win over Wolverhampton last Saturday.
Will the end close to Kevin De Bruyne’s cross be a turning point? Grealish is keen to produce more in the final third. He was not satisfied with six goals and four assists last season, and needs a solid performance when England play Italy in The League of Nations in Milan on Friday.
Grealish looked amused after hearing that Graeme Souness was talking to him on the radio this week. “I don’t know what his problem is with me,” he says. “He always says things about me. I try not to read him. It’s hard when he’s on Sky Sports and everywhere around the training ground sometimes.
“He was a great player and he won a lot but I don’t know what’s with me. I know my ability. I know he used to say things about me, I don’t move the ball faster, but when I play for a manager like Pep Guardiola and he asks me to keep the ball as long as I can and I have the balls to take in Everywhere, that’s what I’ll try and do.
“I am very critical of myself. I know there were matches, especially in the second half of last season, where I wasn’t at my best. I got fit, I had a strong pre-season and unfortunately I got injured in the second game. But I will just try to get this back.” Fitness because I know I’m not 100% yet. But I will always have people on my back.”
Mind drifts cover Grealish as he enjoys vacation this summer. Pictures surfaced of him drinking alcohol, which inevitably led people to question his professionalism. “I’m just a normal kid,” he says. “I feel like I was doing what a lot of other footballers do, but sometimes I get more attention when I’m on vacation in Ibiza or Vegas.
“Then I was putting pictures of me in action. I don’t know if a lot of people talked about it. I tried to be as healthy as possible and I felt like I did. I’ve seen the manager say it a few times about me. I know how professional I am at Indeed “.
Comes with the territory. Grealish accepts that England are under pressure ahead of these matches against Italy and Germany. They are at the bottom of their group in the Nations League with two points from their first four matches, although Grealish insists on criticism of Southgate after England lost 4-0 to Hungary In June it was excessive.
“It’s very tough, especially as I’ve seen in the World Cup and the Euro how well the team and the manager are doing,” Grealish says. “But sometimes that’s what you get when you’re English. I’ve had my fair share.”
Grealish dismisses the idea that Southgate is too negative. He disagrees with suggestions that the manager is wary of high-end players. Like Southgate, Grealish is learning to deal with critics. He listens to the important people, but ignores the trolls on social media.
“When I signed for Man City, I knew it wouldn’t be a laugh if I didn’t start the road Erling Haaland He did,” he says. “This is the only way I don’t get caned. I’m not going to sit here and say “nothing ever affects me” because sometimes it does. I had to learn how to deal with it.”