Jack Grealish has accused Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness of having a personal agenda against him, insisting: “I don’t know what his problem is with me.”
Grealish has been accused by the former Liverpool midfielder of taking too many touches on the ball and falling short of expectations since his Premier League record £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, 27, scored his first goal of the season at the weekend 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.”