After making a record-breaking £100 million to Manchester City last summer, Jack Grealish became a divisive figure amongst the Aston Villa fanbase.
While a certain section of supporters completely understood the reason behind his decision to grab the golden opportunity of playing for the Premier League’s most dominant force, several others were miffed by his departure as Villa’s long-term project was finally kicking into gear.
With the England international subject to heated criticism from a large section of his boyhood club’s supporters for his largely underwhelming displays for Manchester City this term, the 26-year old has the chance to silence some of his biggest critics by lifting his maiden Premier League title against Steven Gerrard’s men on Sunday.
Ahead of what is set to be a day of mixed emotions for the attacker, Pep Guardiola was quizzed about how Jack Grealish felt with regards to the fateful encounter.
“I didn't speak with him. I can if you want?" Guardiola opened.
"I'm sure he maybe helped for Villa to be promoted to the Premier League and remaining in the Premier League for two seasons. For him, never won the Premier League, he must be so excited."
Pep Guardiola continued, “We'd be happy to have one, my advice to him is to be happy as possible playing football. The feeling after two-three days, all the effort, your name on the list [of honours]. If he's comfortable getting better, it's the most important.”
The Englishman has certainly shown signs of why Manchester City broke the bank for him in recent weeks, with his delightfully creative showing against Newcastle and perhaps most important, his well-struck volley against West Ham that has played a major hand in City sitting a point above title challengers Liverpool.
A statement display followed by potentially lifting his first Premier League title will be Jack Grealish’s focus at the Etihad Stadium, regardless of how much of an emotional encounter it could be for the boyhood Aston Villa fan.