Eyebrows were raised when Manchester City splashed out £100million on Jack Grealish last summer, with Grealish's performances last season doing little to quell the criticism over the fee. However, Man City boss Pep Guardiola has defended the transfer.
Grealish struggled to reach the heights he did with previous club Aston Villa for City last season, reflected by a marked downturn in his output. The England man provided an impressive 18 goal contributions for his former side in the 2020/21 Premier League campaign but managed to accumulate just six for The Cityzens last season.
But there are a multitude of reasons behind the regression of Grealish's numbers, ranging from the difficulty of adapting to Guardiola's system to simply not playing as much for City in comparison to his stint at Villa, where he was their main creative outlet for several years.
Despite his tough start to life in Manchester, it is clear that the Birmingham native has the full support of his manager. "The most important thing you need to know about Jack Grealish is that he won the Premier League," the City boss said via BirminghamLive.
"He came here to help us to win the Premier League – and he did it."
Guardiola also spoke to the Grealish's fantastic attitude while explaining why he considers his signing a successful one, but admitted he is keen to see an improvement from the 26-year-old, saying: "Jack is incredibly loved in the locker room. He is so humble and people like him.
"Of course, I want more – not just from Jack, but from everyone. I want more, definitely I want more. And he will have to fight.
"We have a small squad and competition up front is so big and they are really, reallyhalf-season good players. But it is what it is. At the end of the day, everybody knows – Jack and every player."
The City boss believes that the prospect of a spot in England's world cup squad could prove to be a great motivator for the winger. "The much better you play, the more chance you have to play more minutes," Guardiola explained. "And we are optimistic because he has arrived here well and he knows he has the World Cup around the corner.
"Gareth Southgate knows he has a big selection as there are many good players in his team and everyone knows what they have to do."
Given Gareth Southgate's hesitance to use Grealish in certain games, Guardiola's point is a valid one as the former Villa man will need to impress in the half-season before the World Cup if he wants to secure a starting spot in the tournament. However, it seems that Grealish is under no great pressure, at least publicly, from his club manager after last season.
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