Grealish finding unmissable Man City opportunity tougher than expected

By Sports Desk November 30, 2021

Jack Grealish is finding life at Manchester City tougher than expected but is relishing the opportunity of playing in the Champions League.

Grealish left boyhood club Aston Villa for a British record £100 million fee ahead of the 2021-22 season as he joined Pep Guardiola's already impressive wealth of attacking riches.

The England international has since made his Champions League debut, scoring against RB Leipzig in September, while featuring regularly for City in the Premier League until suffering an injury on international duty with England earlier in November.

Grealish, who might be fit to face his former club on Wednesday, conceded the task of European football, and adapting to his new club, has been far more challenging than expected.

However, he in no way regrets his decision to swap Birmingham for Manchester.

"You only get one shot at your career and it just flies by," Grealish told The Telegraph. "I feel Villa are going towards that [Europe] but I just didn't know how long it was going to take for us. 

"If I hadn't come here, I would have regretted it forever. I remember hearing Michael Owen say the same about Real Madrid.

"You look at most of my England team-mates – I was probably one of the last to play [in the] Champions League. You could probably count two or three who haven't, such as Kalvin Phillips or Sam Johnstone.

"It's the one we all want to win. The manager has come here and won everything else, we're all desperate to win it and I've come here to try and help them.

"I've got so much more to give. I've found it a lot more difficult than I thought I would, adapting to a different manager and team-mates. 

"At first I thought I'd have more of the ball, get more assists and goals but it doesn't work like that at all. I've had nowhere near as much of the ball as I used to get at Villa."

Grealish has started in all of his nine appearances in the Premier League for City, who are a point behind leaders Chelsea after 13 games, but, as he explains himself, he is seeing less of the ball as a part of Guardiola's remarkable depth of attackers.

Grealish attempted 4.53 dribbles per 90 minutes in the league for Villa last term, which has reduced to 3.39 with City and this may have translated into his final output.

With Villa, he scored or assisted every 137 minutes, a figure that goes up to 248 this term with just one top-flight goal and two assists to his name.

He managed six goals and 10 assists in 26 appearances last season, creating 3.34 chances per match and shooting 2.06 times. Again, this falls to 3.15 for the former and 1.94 for the latter with the reigning champions.

Grealish also revealed he came close to joining City's neighbours Manchester United in 2020.

"I was really close to going, but nothing happened in the end," he said of the potential United transfer. "We played United in a pre-season game on [the] Saturday and I wasn't supposed to play in a cup game at Burton. 

"But after the United game I said to [Christian] Purslow [Villa's chief executive] and my agent [David Manasseh] 'if I'm not leaving, I'll sign my new contract'.

"I went in with my dog on Tuesday morning, signed the deal, and played later that day. We all agreed on the clause and if any team hit that, it's a win-win because it means I've had an unbelievable season and Villa got £100 million."

Reiterating how difficult it was to move on from his former club, Grealish added: "You can't imagine how hard it was for me to leave.

"I was a bit surprised by some of the backlash when I left. I'd never want a toxic relationship with anyone there. I owe everything to them and I wouldn’t be at City without Villa.

"If I score, I'm not going to be celebrating. At the end of the day, I'm Jack Grealish from Solihull who loves the Villa."

Related items

  • Shanahan had a feeling about 49ers special teams in upset victory over the Packers Shanahan had a feeling about 49ers special teams in upset victory over the Packers

    Kyle Shanahan had an inkling that the San Francisco 49ers' special teams would prove pivotal in their shock divisional round win over the Green Bay Packers.

    The 49ers gained seven points on special teams and saved three on a night where Robbie Gould's walk-off field goal earned a 13-10 triumph to send San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game.

    Green Bay had led for most of the game after AJ Dillon's first-quarter touchdown but the 49ers drew level late when Jordan Willis blocked Corey Bojorquez's punt allowing Talanoa Hufanga to collect the loose ball and run into the end-zone.

    The 49ers regained possession with 3:25 to play, with the excellent Deebo Samuel helping drive them into field-goal range before 39-year-old Gould nailed his 45-yard attempt on the final whistle.

    "We thought our special teams had an advantage in this game," head coach Shanahan said. 

    "We thought they had an opportunity to possibly win us the game. And to be able to say that and to actually come to fruition was huge for those guys and huge for our team."

    Gould, who has now succeeded with each of his 20 career playoff field-goal attempts, ensured his boot stayed hot in snowy conditions at Lambeau Field and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo paid tribute to his team-mate, with a little pun thrown in for good measure.

    "I always trust Robbie. He's as good as gold, man. He always is," he said.

    Garoppolo added: "It's dangerous, man. When a team gets hot, it's dangerous.

    "So we've just got to keep this thing going, focus on next week now, and keep this thing rolling.

    "It took everything. We knew it was going to. I mean, it was just offense, defense, special teams - everybody stepping up and doing their part. I wouldn't have it any other way."

    The stars certainly seemed to align for the 49ers, who lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, with Jimmie Ward having earlier blocked a 39-yard field goal attempt from Mason Crosby on the final play of the first half. Had he made the kick the Packers would have led 10-0.

    Victory means the 49ers are headed to their 17th conference championship appearance, the most for any team since the conferences were forged following the 1970 merger.

    With the Cincinnati Bengals having beaten the Tennessee Titans earlier in the day, it also meant it was the first time since 2010 both number one seeds lost in the divisional round in the same season.

    George Kittle said the 49ers proved they are a "gritty" team to make it this far.

    "This team has been through a lot," the tight end said. "We've been through a lot of adversity. 

    "We've dealt with a lot. We've lost games by making mistakes. We've won games dirty. This is a gritty team. It's a salty team, and we just keep bouncing back."

  • Rumour Has It: Ex-Inter star Eriksen set to complete Brentford move imminently Rumour Has It: Ex-Inter star Eriksen set to complete Brentford move imminently

    Christian Eriksen had his contract terminated with Inter last month.

    The Danish midfielder has been training with Ajax in recent weeks.

    But the 29-year-old former Tottenham star is set to return to England.

     

    TOP STORY – ERIKSEN SET TO COMPLETE BEES DEAL

    Former Inter midfielder Eriksen is set to complete a deal to join Brentford in the next 72 hours according to the Mirror.

    Ex-Tottenham star Eriksen has agreed terms but needs to pass a medical with the Bees to seal the imminent deal.

    The Denmark international, who suffered a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, was unable to play for Inter this season due to Italian football regulations.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Newcastle United will open new talks with Brighton as they move to sign Yves Bissouma, claims the Daily Mail. The Magpies are also pondering an offer for Tottenham's Dele Alli.

    - The Sun reports that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola may be lured away with by the offer to take over as the Netherlands national team boss. The Dutch deal would start in 2023 when his current contract expires.

    - West Ham will make a bumper move for Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin claims The Sun. The deal would be worth £60million.

    - Mundo Deportivo claims that ex-Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj is set to extend his current deal with Real Sociedad .

    - Diego Carlos' representatives are trying to convince Sevilla to sell him to Newcastle with a £60m deal on the table according to 90min.

  • Australian Open: Nadal overcomes marathon first set to beat Mannarino for quarter-final spot Australian Open: Nadal overcomes marathon first set to beat Mannarino for quarter-final spot

    Rafael Nadal overcame a marathon first-set tiebreaker to move into the Australian Open quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over French veteran Adrian Mannarino on Sunday.

    Nadal continued on his search for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title with the 7-6 (16-14) 6-2 6-2 victory at Rod Laver Arena.

    The Spaniard will take on either third seed Alexander Zverev or Canadian 14th seed Denis Shapovalov in the last eight on Tuesday. The win marks Nadal's 14th appearance in the Australian Open quarters.

    Nadal has only dropped one set in his first four matches at the Australian Open but the opening set against Mannarino was epic, with the sixth seed edging his opponent after 80 minutes.

    The 2009 Australian Open winner trailed 3-0 in the tie-break but fought back to level it up, eventually taking the set 16-14 with his seventh set point.

    Nadal assumed complete control from that set on, dominating the second and third to win in two hours and 40 minutes.

    The 35-year-old was powerful, sending down 16-7 aces, while he won 88 percent on his first serve across the match. Nadal only offered up two break points for the match.

    DATA SLAM: Nadal on the right track

    Nadal has dropped 38 games across his four matches at the Australian Open, making light work of Mannarino in the latter two sets which collectively took as long as the first.

    The Spaniard won in Melbourne in 2009 but lost finals in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2019, yet without Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at this year's event it looms as his best chance for years to lift the title and he seems in good health and form. 

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Nadal – 42/22

    Mannarino – 37/34

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Nadal – 16/6

    Mannarino 7/4

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Nadal – 5/17

    Mannarino – 1/2

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.