EPL

Robson 'wouldn't mind seeing' Grealish at Manchester United

By Sports Desk January 20, 2021

Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson would like to see Jack Grealish make a move to Old Trafford.

Aston Villa star Grealish has been linked with the Red Devils in the past 18 months but there has yet to be a concerted effort to sign him.

However, with the future of Paul Pogba unclear beyond this season, talk has again emerged that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could look to Grealish as a possible replacement for the France star.

The England international has created a competition-high 55 goalscoring chances in the Premier League in 2020-21 from only 15 appearances.

The 25-year-old has become integral to Villa's improved performances this term, making 11 per cent of all of their passes and drawing 73 fouls, the most of any player in the division.

Former skipper Robson, twice a league champion with United, thinks Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be making a smart move if he added Grealish to his squad.

"It was a good decision giving [Jack Grealish] the [Aston Villa] captaincy," he told Stats Perform. "I think it's made him a bit more mature.

"He's a powerful player. He's quite a strong boy and he's quick and the way he can sort of go either way past people, he's always going to be a danger and that's why he gets so many free-kicks. Him and Villa have been terrific this season.

"He's been linked with us but those decisions, thank goodness, are with Ole and the board of directors. I wouldn't mind seeing Jack Grealish in a Manchester United shirt. I don't know whether the staff at Old Trafford fancy him, much as you'd like to see him play for your club."

United face Fulham on Wednesday looking for a win that would take them back to the top of the Premier League.

Grealish and Villa are in action away to in-form Manchester City.

Related items

  • Ansu Fati contract extension close, Koeman confirms Ansu Fati contract extension close, Koeman confirms

    Barcelona are close to tying Ansu Fati down to a new long-term contract, head coach Ronald Koeman has confirmed.

    The Catalans are said to have been focused on handing out bumper deals to their most promising talents after losing Lionel Messi in pre-season, with a rebuild well under way.

    Media speculation in recent days suggested their hopes of renewing Fati's deal had hit a stumbling block, with his agent Jorge Mendes apparently unwilling for a €1billion release clause to be inserted into his contract.

    Such a clause proved no obstacle to securing Pedri's future and quickly the news reports were turned on their heads, with Mundo Deportivo claiming on Tuesday that a deal has been struck with Fati and Mendes "in principle".

    Fati has broken a host of records since his emergence as a 16-year-old in 2019, including becoming Barcelona's youngest ever LaLiga goalscorer, and has looked sharp since returning from a serious knee injury.

    He has already scored twice in just 94 minutes of LaLiga action this term, with Koeman easing him back.

    Wearing Messi's former number 10 jersey, he looks set to lead Barca for at least the next five years.

    "It's true that they are close [to an agreement]," Koeman told reporters ahead of Wednesday's Champions League clash with Dynamo Kiev.

    "It's very important news. He's a young player with a lot of quality. He's one of those who should shape the future of this club."

    Fati's previous deal was technically due to expire next year, though Barca did have the option to unilaterally extend the agreement until 2024, much like the case with Pedri prior to the signing of his new contract.

    Pedri signed on until 2026 and Fati is rumoured to be in line for a similarly lengthy extension.

  • NBA 2021-22: Josh Giddey – the next Australian set to take the league by storm? NBA 2021-22: Josh Giddey – the next Australian set to take the league by storm?

    From trailblazer Luc Longley and his trophy-laden time alongside Michael Jordan in Chicago, to Andrew Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova and Ben Simmons. There has been a healthy contingent of Australian stars gracing the NBA.

    Josh Giddey joined the growing list of Australians in the league when the 19-year-old was taken with the sixth pick in the 2021 NBA Draft at Brooklyn's Barclays Center in July.

    After reigning NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball was taken by the Charlotte Hornets with the third pick of the 2020 Draft, a player from the NBL had their name called early for the second consecutive year.

    Giddey emerged as a lottery pick and was taken swiftly by the rebuilding Thunder – who missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2014-15 – following his exploits for the Adelaide 36ers.

    The teenage playmaker caught the eye of NBA executives in a season which saw him crowned the NBL's Rookie of the Year after leading the league with 7.6 assists per game, while averaging 10.9 points and 7.3 rebounds in 28 appearances.

    In four preseason games for the Thunder, Giddey averaged 13.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.

    Regarded as the best Australian prospect since three-time All-Star Simmons was drafted first by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2016, former 36ers head coach Conner Henry hailed the Melbourne-born point guard when he spoke to Stats Perform prior to July's draft.

    "It's really been a rewarding experience for me as a coach," Henry said. "It's the first time I've had the opportunity to coach an elite talent at such a young age.

    "I didn't really know what I exactly had coming in. I had seen Josh on film and in the Chicago camp a year earlier, when he was just a young, fairly tall, skinny kid who didn't play all that well. Carried himself confidently. You could see he played at a pace and made others around him better, but it wasn't like he stood out.

    "Then you fast forward five-and-a-half/six months, he walks in and is two inches taller, 15kg heavier and he has really started to grow into his body. Then I knew I had something pretty special.

    "It became pretty evident after a month and a half that he was going to be able to play - and play at a high level against grown men. As we went down that path with him, we were able to keep throwing more and more systems at him. He was very open to listening, to understanding what we're trying to put in play.

    "Having played the position before, I was able to talk to him about angles. 'Do you see this window of an opportunity here when you turn a corner', 'how do you read the floor initially when you rebound the ball and pushing out on the break', these little things. I think he was well ahead of me already when I brought those things up. Really rewarding to see his growth and confidence grow daily."

    Since 2012, Giddey's assists per game figure is only second to Cairns Taipans point guard Scott Machado – who averaged 7.6 in 2019-20.

     

    "Every player when they reach a certain level of recognition or professional ranks, they're always the best of the best as they keep going in advancing on their path. Josh wasn't satisfied. He was always pushing forward and trying to get better, always trying to connect with his team-mates and that's his greatest strength because he makes everyone around him better," Henry said as the Thunder prepare to open their season against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

    "His offensive game will continue to grow; he will be able to score more and he is going to become a very good three-point shooter eventually - the mechanics are sound. The release off the hand has improved, he is under the ball more, the rotation has improved and it will only get better.

    "At the end of the day, his true strength is his size, his feel for the game and ability to find his team-mates."

    While Giddey only shot 43 per cent from the field, the teenager – who was surprisingly overlooked for Australia's Olympic Games squad – frequently demonstrated his playmaking ability, athleticism and high basketball IQ under Henry's guidance in Adelaide.

    Henry – a former assistant with the Orlando Magic, having played for the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings in the NBA – likened Giddey to fellow Australian and sharp-shooter Joe Ingles.

    Ingles has become an integral part of the Utah Jazz franchise since his arrival in 2014, ranking fifth in three-point percentage (45.1 – a career high) last season. Giddey and the Thunder play the Jazz in their season opener on Wednesday.

    "He'll get to a point where he will have to play harder as he matures physically," Henry said of Giddey. "He won't be able to take periodic breaks in the game and that can be managed minutes wise of course. He will have to be switched on at both ends, even more so than he was with us.

    "Even at 18, he was very good but there were moments when at both ends of the floor where either we had to teach or correct him on things. He'll be fine, he will be surrounded by fantastic coaches who will push him. He likes to be pushed as a player. He will have to improve on the defensive end. I think he will become a good defender.

    "I look at some of the Aussies in the league right now, Ingles isn't this elite athlete that is running up and down, high flying and dunking on people. Josh is that similar kind of Ingles body type. Plays at a good, sound speed, has good strength, uses his length wisely on both ends of the floor and Josh will get better and better in that part of the game in how to adjust and play both offensively and defensively."

    Henry added: "Josh has been used to be playing in FIBA rules. Now he will be playing in NBA rules. With the defensive rules in place with the NBA, you can't pack the paint like you can in FIBA, where you can really load up. That, coupled with the ability of the offensive players to have more freedom of movement, where in FIBA it's quite physical.

    "In the NBL, freedom of movement can be impeded quite a bit with a hand check, body check or hold. Josh is going to have even more success in the pick-and-roll game at the NBA level. He had very good success with us.

    "I think his height, ability to see the floor and ability to make team-mates better, in the NBA rules, are only going to compliment his game and help him grow."

  • Nets relishing chance to spoil Bucks' ring celebration with revenge on the cards Nets relishing chance to spoil Bucks' ring celebration with revenge on the cards

    The Brooklyn Nets are itching for the opportunity to get revenge on the Milwaukee Bucks for last season's Eastern Conference semi-finals defeat, and Tuesday's ring celebration could be the ideal chance.

    Their playoffs meeting earlier this year was something of a classic, with the series going to the wire as Milwaukee ultimately came good.

    James Harden struggled with an injury, Kyrie Irving was out and Kevin Durant was denied what he thought was a winning three-pointer at the buzzer, but it turned out to only be a two-pointer and overtime beckoned.

    The Bucks went on to win in OT and that sent them on their way to only a second NBA championship and a first since 1971.

    It is fair to say the Nets have not forgotten what occurred in June and they will be highly motivated for their season opener against the Bucks, who will also be collecting their championship rings.

    "It goes without saying we're definitely excited," said Nets shooting guard Joe Harris.

    "We would've been excited no matter who we were playing against. This is going to be an awesome atmosphere.

    "[There's a] sour taste in our mouth from the last time we played against Milwaukee, so obviously excited we get to start off with them to start the season.

    "But nothing to discredit Milwaukee, they had an unbelievable season. Rightfully NBA champions.

    "They're an unbelievable team with a lot of talent across the board. Right now, they're the team to beat.

    "For us, it's not looking too far ahead, though. One game at a time. All of the focus is on Milwaukee and getting a good start to the season."

    "We'll see how our group responds," coach Steve Nash added. "They may have extra motivation.

    "They may just be locked into what their jobs are. So, I'm not really sure how they'll respond to that, or if that'll have an impact on them.

    "But more than anything, I just want our guys to be prepared to start fast and play well."

    Of course, last season the Nets were many people's favourites for the championship prior to that series defeat to the Bucks.

    And while Durant acknowledged the excitement ahead of the Nets' season opener, he is reminding his team-mates they need to begin with high standards and maintain them every game, not just against the best teams.

    "No matter what we play, we've got to hold ourselves to a championship-level standard, and we're not exercising good habits if we only get up against teams like Milwaukee," Durant said.

    "Everybody's excited for the first game, but we want to keep this energy, no matter where we play."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.