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Nobody will stop him being Jack the lad. It’s in his name of course.
But don't doubt the dedication of Jack Grealish. There may be pictures of him enjoying life in Las Vegas and he may have appeared to have had a few too many at Manchester City’s title celebration.
The England attacker may also come across as the laid back character who doesn’t take life too seriously. That’s nothing he would disagree with, but when it comes to hard work then he won’t listen to anyone who says he lacks graft.
READ MORE: Jack Grealish not shying away from penalty duty if Senegal tie goes to a shootout
“Just speak to people I work with every day and I swear, if you go and ask Steve [Holland] or Gareth [Southgate] or any of them ‘is there anyone in this squad who loves football more than me’,” he said.
“Every day they have to say to me ‘come on Jack, get in now, get off the training pitch’ because I love playing football and training. I just enjoy it all.
“I have other stuff I enjoy doing as well, I’m an outgoing person and I don’t think I should just sit there and shy away from that'.
“Why would I sit here and say to you, 'I go home, I sit in my room', when I don't do that? So why am I going to say it?
“I like to go out and enjoy myself but I always know for a fact that when it comes to football, training and stuff, you'll find it hard to meet someone who loves football and loves having a ball at his feet as much as me."
He gets the ball at his feet quite a lot at City. On the pitch and off it. “Luke Shaw said to me, when I come away with England you can tell who the City lads are,” said Grealish.
“I said what do you mean? He said, ‘You always have a ball, you always want a ball’. It’s true. Me, even Kyle [Walker], Phil [Foden], we’re just always wanting a ball.
“Whether it be back home, at the camp, or here, lads will just be doing stretches and that getting ready for training or playing basketball and me and Phil will just be playing two-touch.
“We get that from being at City. I’ve never been in a changing room in my life where, at Villa you’d be sitting there on their phones, then at City you’re sitting there and balls are going flying across the changing room.
“I think it’s the culture at City, where everyone just loves to have a football and we bring that here.”
Do you think Jack Grealish should be in England's starting XI? Let us know in the comments section.
He’s certainly enjoying this World Cup ahead of Sunday’s clash with Senegal, having made three substitute appearances and scored one goal.
Grealish was talking about a video of him and team-mate Phil Foden which went viral as they popped the ball about without letting it hit the floor in a game of no bounce.
But it is another City team-mate who leaves the former Aston Villa man in awe and that is Bernardo Silva.
Grealish is still adapting to life at City. It may be why he has just one assist in the Premier League this calendar year.
But he got to his feet when he had to explain how different life is playing with Bernardo under Pep Guardiola. It was one game in particular which stood out, he thinks it was Brighton last season.
“One of the best players I’ve played with – and he’s changed the way I see football – is Bernardo Silva,” he said.
“I remember one game last season: the manager told Bernardo to come get the ball off Ederson.
“So Ederson puts the ball down, gives it to Bernardo who goes off on his little dribble around. I was like ‘WTF does this c*** think he is doing he thinks it’s school football'. It was unbelievable.”
But it is that type of football Guardiola is trying to instil into Grealish. He’s learning from the best in Bernardo.
“Pep says he wants us to show balls, wanting the ball under pressure when then opposition crowd are against you at Anfield when everyone is whistling and you’re saying give me the ball,” added Grealish. “That is Bernardo in a nutshell. That’s what I think I do a little bit.”
When his own stats were brought up, Grealish doesn’t bristle but he does defend himself. The City star has just one assist since the start of 2022 in the Premier League. Liverpool keeper Alisson has more than him.
“It’s mad innit really? I dunno, man,” he said.
“It is crazy when you say [1 Premier League assist] that because when you look back to when I was at Villa a couple of years ago – I got three in a game versus Liverpool.
“One thing that I did find difficult when I went to City was I remember thinking I would get so many goals and assists because I didn’t think about the other side of it when you do get there it is so much more difficult.
“I do think nowadays – goals and assists – it’s all that people go on about now. Look, I want to get goals and assists.
“I was winding Bernardo [Silva] up not too long ago because he got two assists in a row by passing the ball to Joao Cancelo on the edge of the box, Joao cut in and put it top bin.
“I'm not saying it shouldn’t be an assist, but I do think, nowadays, its the thing people go on about so much than they actually should.”
It comes with the territory. Playing for City and England means more scrutiny.
“There's obviously a lot of pressure and since I've gone to City I've felt it more than ever,” said Grealish.
“At Villa there weren't really a lot of expectation but as soon as you go to a club that are challenging for stuff and for the price tag I went for, there's so much expectation.
“I could have three bad games at Villa and I don't think anyone would say a word. Now at City, you're on BT and Sky every week, you have one bad 60 minutes and everyone's saying, 'He's this, he's that, he's not playing well'.
“There's not much expectation but I did know it was going to come with that. I'm just trying to enjoy it as much as I can.”
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- Pep Guardiola
- Premier League
- World Cup
- Manchester City FC
- England Football Team
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