Jack Grealish has been under pressure to perform since the arrival of Jeremy Doku. Despite being one of Manchester City’s best performers last season as the club won the treble, the Englishman has not been at his best this term.
The 28-year-old was injured early into the campaign and while he was out, Doku took his place on the left wing. The Belgian brought something new to City’s attack with his electric pace. He didn’t just bring pace and dribbling ability, the new signing also provides an end product.
He scores and assists, which makes him a very valuable addition to the team. Delivering the goods, it was clear from early on that Grealish needed to do more to take back his position when he returned.
The England international has struggled to replicate the form that saw him become a key part of the City squad last term. But he has been working his way back.
Against Manchester United at Old Trafford the old Grealish was back. Selected ahead of Doku for the encounter, he excelled in the position and pinned Diogo Dalot back in the United defence for most of the game.
A constant goal threat for City in the encounter, he came close to scoring, stinging Andre Onana’s palms twice with ferocious shots. It was his best performance of the season so far since returning from injury. And what a match to kickstart your season and make a statement to the manager?
If this serves as a turning point for the midfielder-turned winger, it will be important for not just his career moving forward but for the team’s aspirations this season.
With City looking to defend the treble won last season, having all players firing on all cylinders will be very important for the team. Just like both Grealish and Doku played at the same time against Young Boys in the Champions League, the duo can feature at the same time in the Premier League.
That gives the manager an abundance of options to choose from. It also provides healthy competition in the squad which raises the performance level of the whole team.
Grealish definitely made a statement with his performance at Old Trafford, and it is that he is back and ready to play a crucial role in the team this season.