Michael Owen, former Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle striker says he is a ‘huge fan’ of Jack Grealish, an English player who made a hooping 100million Euro switch from Aston Villa to Manchester City during the summer, but worries that the £100million signing does not suit the style of football Manchester City play.
Grealish produced another devastating and subdued performance during Manchester City’s 4-1 Champions League victory over Club Brugge on Wednesday night and many have since questioned his compatibility with Pep Guardiola’s side.
Owen admits that Grealish is not ‘perfectly suited’ to the Citizen’s as he focused on winning free-kicks in the final third.
However, Rio Ferdinand former Manchester United player, teammate to Owen and also a pundit, believes the former Aston Villa captain will flourish under Guardiola after learning the ‘City way’.
Speaking after Manchester City’s Champions League triumph and dismantling against Club Brugge on Wednesday night, Owen said: “I am a huge fan of Jack Grealish, full stop. I love him.
“Personally, I think he’s brave,smart, courageous and take the ball under pressure. He is exceptional. He will be a success because he is a very good player playing in a very good team, but will he be a good as he could be in another team…maybe not.
“I just don’t think he perfectly or necessarily suits perfectly to Manchester City. I see Grealish as somebody, certainly a Villa, where he would take the ball from deep and be strong and he is confident and he will run 40/50 yards and earn a free kick after being tugged back.
“He is the most fouled player in the Premier League by a mile. But, I don’t think Man City want free kicks. When Man City get a free-kick in the final third they just put the ball down and start again.
He continued: “They want quick play and lots of passing. They don’t want to get a free-kick and chip it into the box onto the head of a load of 5ft 5inch players. It’s not really their game.
“Grealish takes a touch all the time. He slows it down and commits players,but that’s not the kind of football City wants to play. Two or three come round him and he is fantastic but I don’t think he fits like a glove. He is going scored goals but he doesn’t fit like a glove.”
When Owen was asked if Grealish can up his games or turn things around for himself in Manchester city, Owen said the former Villa star would benefit from being quicker on the ball.
The TV pundit told BT Sport: “Grealish is used to playing in a team where he is the best and also where he dictates the play and pattern. Now he is playing with other great players. He needs to be able to trust those players and do things a little bit quicker.”
Ferdinand agreed with Owen but insisted Grealish would flourish under Guardiola after being taught the Manchester City way.
Ferdinand said: “I agree to a certain extent, that he doesn’t fit like a glove to the kind of pattern Pep plays in Manchester city now. However, given time and education on the Manchester City way, he will evolve into a perfect player for this City team.
“He can take people on. He can bring two, three players to him. Once he does that a frees up other players and the other players understand him, it will be excellent. It’s just that he hasn’t been there long enough yet.
“He has to stand wide. It’s not what he is used to. He is used to drifting and ghosting into positions to free himself up.
“That change will take understanding. It’s not what he is used to. Sometimes it takes the naturalness out of his game. It means he is not off the cuff and that is one of the best parts of his game. He can play off the cuff so well,” Ferdinand added.