Graeme Souness reignites Jack Grealish rivalry: “He needs to have a look at himself”

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Jack Grealish has failed to score in his last 30 matches for club and country and the winger has since dropped down the pecking order at Manchester City, with Jeremy Doku ahead

Graeme Souness has told Jack Grealish he needs to have a “close look at himself” after losing his place as Manchester City’s first-choice left winger in recent weeks.

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Grealish, 28, returned to Pep Guardiola’s starting XI for City’s Champions League game against RB Leipzig on Tuesday after missing the 1-1 draw with Liverpool through illness. However, the ex-Aston Villa star was hooked just minutes into the second-half after failing to impress.

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Doku, who has starred since his £55.5million summer move from Rennes, came on for Grealish and helped change the game for City as they came from behind to win 3-2. The 21-year-old has started in each of the last three Premier League fixtures, scoring once and grabbing four assists in the recent 6-1 win over Bournemouth.

Given his excellent form, it seems as though Doku is ahead of Grealish in the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium. With that in mind, former Liverpool midfielder Souness has admitted Grealish should be “very concerned” about his current predicament, despite winning the treble last season.

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“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.

Graeme Souness has said Jack Grealish needs to have a “close look at himself”

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“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.”

This isn’t the first time Souness has taken aim and criticised Grealish. Notably, in September 2022, Souness described him as a “good, not great” player following a slow first season at City. Grealish silenced some doubters last season, playing a vital part as City won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

However, his recent form has been questioned. “He takes too many touches and does not see the picture early enough – he slows the team down,” Souness said. “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!”

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