Roy Keane has backed Jack Grealish to improve after a difficult first season at Manchester City, but Graeme Souness thinks it may be too late.
The Premier League record signing had a tricky debut campaign at the Etihad, managing just three goals and three assists in the 22 games he started.
The £100million man admitted his struggles after leaving boyhood club Aston Villa last summer, and former Villa assistant Keane also expected more from the striker.
However, he believes that is far from the end of the story with the Man United legend sympathizing with Grealish’s lack of playing time.
“We’ll try to give Jack the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “We were talking about his age earlier, he’s between 26 and 27 now.
“We think maybe he should have gone to City and maybe adapted a bit quicker, but sometimes it can be difficult.
“He came in and didn’t really have the run of games, he had an injury or two earlier in the season, he would have been disappointed even in the last game left out against his former club Aston Villa but they have crossed the line.
“You would expect Jack to have adapted more to the demands of Man City and Pep [Guardiola]I think Pep certainly would have been intense with him and maybe Jack wasn’t quite used to that.
Most Read Football
Chelsea confirm Koulibaly, Lewandowski close to Barcelona and Spurs to seal another deal
Zinchenko ‘could be one of the signings of the summer’ as he swaps Man City for Arsenal
Shearer scored a bizarre goal from an indirect free kick with 11 players in play
Liverpool injury fears leave Klopp sweating ahead of new season
Kane scores as Spurs draw with Sevilla after Son and Montiel started the half-time scrum
‘Bigger turnout than Haaland unveiling’ – Man United reveal new away kit
“We saw him being left out of big games for City and Gareth [Southgate] did the same with England.
“The penny has to fall with Jack, if you want to be a real top player you have to level up a bit and the manager has to have a bit of confidence with him.
“Again fine lines, with Jack, an attacking player, we saw Jack in the Real Madrid game, he had one or two chances.
“But that will define a player, those moments, can you put the ball in the back of the net and take your team to the final? And that’s where Jack just missed, but I wouldn’t write him off just yet.
Keane’s fellow expert disagreed, however, citing Grealish’s age as an issue.
He explained: “I’m not sure, I think Jack is 26-27 in September 27, not 21-27.
“That’s how I was brought up, ‘too many touches son’, if you take too many touches you don’t see the picture fast enough, I think that would be Jack’s story.
“The most fouled player in the league, two years in a row when he was at Villa, again not a good sign for me.
“I’ll put it another way, he doesn’t learn fast, all the best players learn fast, Jack had a year and for me he hasn’t improved.”
Deals of the day
888sport – Get 100% Bonus up to £100* – CLAIM HERE
Deposit £/$/€10 min using promo code ‘TOP100’ • Bonus will be applied once full deposit amount has been wagered at least twice with cumulative odds of 1.50 or more • To withdraw your bonus winnings, you must wager the bonus amount up to 5 times • All deposit and bonus wagering requirements must be met within 60 days • This offer cannot be combined with any other offer • Limit of £/$/€50 stake per bet Applies • Restrictions apply on withdrawals, payment methods and countries and full terms and conditions apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org
SEE MORE FREE BET OFFERS HERE