Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has launched a public defense of Jack Grealish – but talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino isn’t buying it.
The England striker has struggled for goals and assists since his record £100m move to City from Aston Villa in 2021.
Having been involved in 32 goals in his last two seasons at Villa Park, Grealish has so far only played a part in six during his time at the Etihad.
Nonetheless, Guardiola insists the 27-year-old plays a different role for his side and has hit back at the critics.
The Spaniard said on Friday: “The last game, in the last third, he was the only front who made aggressive one-on-one runs, but to make assists he didn’t have his teammates in the box so we left him alone.
“When he faces the full-back, only Erling was there. Gundo wasn’t there, Kevin wasn’t there and they should be.
“In the first half, especially with the ball, we didn’t make any moves to help the players who had the ball and give him more opportunities to make things easier.
“I’m more than happy and delighted with what he’s doing. Now it’s just a matter of time to regain some of the momentum he had at the start of the season.
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Guardiola added: “We didn’t sign for the incredible goals or assists at Aston Villa.
“That was another reason and when he played he did. I want [him] score goals and assists and he does too.
“But it’s not about that, it’s about his contribution off the ball and what he can produce for others.”
However, former Republic of Ireland striker Cascarino insists Guardiola will be disappointed with Grealish’s private figures.
Many have argued that Grealish faces different challenges at City, but Cascarino insists the best players are overcome, citing Kevin De Bruyne as an example.
“At £100million, a British record, the review is at the highest level – and Jack falls short,” Cascarino said.
“He still hasn’t secured himself in the England team. He played in a side that won the title and Gareth still hasn’t been convinced to start him as one of his main men.
“I don’t think he’s one of Pep’s main men like [Kevin] De Bruyne or [Erling] Haland. He doesn’t feel like that with Jack.
Cascarino added: “De Bruyne has had that for the last five years. Everyone tried to stop De Bruyne. Did they arrest him? No.
“Did they arrest Grealish? Yes. I recognize all his talents, but De Bruyne has found a way.
“If you’re a £100million player, one of the best technical players out there right now, you have to win.”
Cascarino continued: “Pep defends his player, but if you ask him privately, I bet he would say he’s a bit disappointed in Jack.
“You would be. He spent a year in a champion team and he has low numbers. You can’t have low numbers.
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