Seven goals in 56 appearances for an attacking midfielder and winger is not such a bad return. Except, of course, it’s Jack Grealish. If you’re the most expensive English player of all time you should be doing better. Grealish’s time at Manchester City so far has been a mixture of the good and bad.
Most people are doing at this point in time that is simply is not what the amount paid for him. What do disagree on many other things relating to the player. He has become a player that device opinion and mainly now simply love to hate.
A lot of what unfolded during Manchester City’s game against Leeds United reflects on Grealish’s time at the club so far. At many points in the first half of the encounter, one could hardly recognise that this was the same player who was once the talisman for Aston Villa.
You received the ball and you could tell her nothing was going to come out of it. Even when he was presented with chances begging to just put the ball in the back of the net, he will still choose the harder option of putting it away from goal.
At other times he will dribble aimlessly and go down at the slightest of touches from an opposition player. As could be expected, the home crowd was incensed. He became the target of the boo-boys who used every opportunity they could get to express their displeasure.
But that in itself was just an excuse as these days almost everything he does is subject to unfavorable scrutiny, particularly from those outside the club. His biggest ‘mistake’ was to allow himself to get signed for £100million. It’s an ‘error’ he will have to live with the consequences for the rest of his life, it seems.
However the 27-year-old turned up in the second half to have the last laugh. He provided two assists for Erling Haaland to net record-breaking goals that helped the team to keep tabs with Arsenal. That made his manager happy.
On a personal level, it was also an opportunity to rub it in the face of his critics.
That so much is expected from the attacker is an understatement. He must be under immense pressure to deliver every time he steps on the pitch. If for no other reason, his hefty price tag has placed huge and sometimes even unrealistic expectations on his shoulders.
Pep Guardiola gave him a warm embrace after substitution as if to reassure him of his support. The manager later poured encomiums on him in the post match press conference.
“He was good, in the first half he missed chances, he has to improve in that and his mentality and be aggressive there, ‘I am going to score, I am going to score’ but he shows the quality to be generous. He is so humble and the perfect assist for Erling,” said Guardiola.
It's been the Catalan boss' way of breathing confidence and assurance into his players. And if there's any of them that needs that at this point in time, it's Grealish.