Souness tells Man City star to ‘have a close look at himself’ as old habits die hard

Will Ford
Former Liverpool manager and captain Graeme Souness during a Sky Sports broadcast.
Graeme Souness can't resist having a pop at Jack Grealish.

Graeme Souness has urged Manchester City star Jack Grealish to take a “close look at himself” having lost his place in Pep Guardiola’s team in recent weeks.

Jeremy Doku – signed for £55m from Rennes in the summer – has been Guardiola’s preferred option on the left wing for most of the season and replaced Grealish against RB Leipzig on Tuesday to turn the game around.

Souness – who’s never held his punches when it comes to Grealish – thinks the 28-year-old should be “very concerned” by his current situation at Manchester City.

“Ask 10 full-backs if they’d rather play against Doku or Grealish, and I think it would be Grealish every time,” Souness told the Daily Mail. “Defenders don’t like pace and players who are direct. The way it is today, you dangle a leg and that’s a penalty. Grealish isn’t showing any intent to get by defenders.

“He is, for me, at a crossroads in his City career. Doku is 21 years old and is only going to improve. Jack is 28. He needs to have a close look at himself. He should be in his pomp. Between 26 and 30 you have the knowledge, you’re physically and mentally stronger. He will not be getting any better. This should be his time.

“So, if I was him, I would be very concerned. I’d be sitting in front of the manager and asking him, ‘How do you see it for me? I’ve won all these trophies with you but the new guy is the go-to player in my position.’

“With the Euros coming up, and World Cup beyond that, he cannot afford to be sitting on the bench as a bit-part player. Only he can decide if he’s happy to be that. It’s not something I would have tolerated. I wanted to start every game and I did, if I was fit.”

Souness’ issue with Grealish came to light in September 2022 when he described him as a “good, not great” player before later insisting that “the modern player doesn’t take criticism well” after a perfectly measured response from the Manchester City star.

Grealish played a huge role in City’s treble win last season, but Souness insists the England international has “become very predictable” and isn’t getting close to the goal contributions required of a forward.

“He takes too many touches and does not see the picture early enough – he slows the team down,” Souness added. “Put it this way, I can understand why Pep Guardiola is picking Jeremy Doku ahead of him for Manchester City.

“Grealish has become very predictable. He takes his full-back down the line before checking inside and playing it square. There is no threat, no end-product. He has not scored in his last 30 appearances for club and country and has only two assists this season, so there you go. He’s a forward!”

READ MORE: Top assist providers in 2023: Fernandes and Salah closing in with Man Utd tormentor the joint leader