Raheem Sterling offers Jack Grealish two lessons in becoming Man City’s success – Liam Wood


Jack Grealish was the poster boy Manchester City needed to achieve European and world domination.

Signing him from Aston Villa seemed like a perfect opportunity for the Premier League champions and, spending a British record £100m on used notes, they secured that high-profile deal after his swashbuckling performances for England at Euro 2020.

Armed with his signature miniature headband and shin guards, Grealish became a cult hero last summer.

There’s only substance to go with that style, as City wanted to replicate what David Beckham did so gloriously for Manchester United during the 1990s and early 2000s.

However, commercial success would not be enough. Grealish had to act. It still does.

Much has been said about the English midfielder and his first months at the Etihad Stadium.

Given his staggering transfer fee and front-page profile, that was just going to be the case.

Pep Guardiola clearly saw something in Grealish and, whatever your stance on his impact so far, three goals and the same number of assists in 16 Premier League games is not enough. Statistics don’t tell the whole story, of course, but there is one clear example the 26-year-old must follow to ensure he eventually becomes a success in his own right on the blue side of this famous footballing city.

There are also other extenuating circumstances as the City seeks a definitive payback on its investment.

His England team-mate Raheem Sterling may only be 10 months older than Grealish but, in terms of his progression, he can serve as a benchmark for the loose-haired number ten; a man apparently appointed and sworn in by Guardiola as his replacement. How things have changed.

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It has been seven years since the 27-year-old Sterling traded Liverpool for the Etihad Stadium.

That was a controversial move in some circles, while the then new kid in town marked his 31 appearances with eight direct goal appearances in the Premier League; Six goals and two assists.

Statistics, as we know, paint only half the picture. Grealish too, in that sense, needs to be given some slack as he continues his debut season at these venues. A nine-figure signing, yes. A quick fix, no.

He certainly has more experience than Sterling when he first landed at the Etihad Stadium.

However, it should also be noted that Grealish was a Championship player only three years ago.

After guiding his beloved local team back to the top flight, Grealish scored 14 goals and provided 18 assists over two years and 62 Premier League appearances for Villa. That comeback is much more like City’s and you can still expect him to replicate those numbers eventually.

Signing a blue-chip leader like Erling Haaland could boost the second column to begin with.

Sterling had seven goals and 10 assists in his second campaign, but it was in his third season that City and Guardiola really unlocked that particular threat. In fact, out of 33 outings in 2017/2018, the England star recorded the same number of direct goal appearances.

Sterling and Grealish hug during Euro 2020 with England.

A push for those who expect Grealish to follow Guardiola’s trademark path.

It’s not just that strong spike that can serve as a lesson or encouragement.

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What is your verdict on Grealish? Your opinion in the comments section.

Sidelined by City at the end of last season and the start of this one, despite starting in the Champions League final against Chelsea, Sterling also did the unthinkable and forced Guardiola into a U-turn. transfer. It seemed to everyone that his days in blue were numbered upon returning from Euro 2020.

Showing the utmost determination in that regard, Sterling continues to provide a fitting example of how to deal with and react to setbacks. Under such an intense microscope that comes with being at the top and being a £100m player, Grealish, then, doesn’t have to look too far to find his perfect role model.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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