Jack Grealish has admitted that when he plays for England, he feels more at ease than when he plays for Manchester City.
The £100 million player had a difficult first season with City, scoring six goals and assisting four times in 39 games but not always being a feature in Pep Guardiola’s starting eleven.
Grealish is hoping to put his problems behind him this summer with England, and he got off to a good start with an 18-minute cameo off the bench against Germany, after which he admitted he feels more at ease on the international stage.
“I feel at times I’ve played a bit safe at City, but when I come here I feel like even in training I train really well, score goals, get assists,” he said.
“When I come on the pitch I do feel like I play with a lot more freedom here, and hopefully I can transfer that into my club football and keep on improving.”
On his showing against Germany, Grealish added: “That’s what the manager asked me to do, go on and be myself and try and create, and that’s what I did. I feel sometimes when I’m here I can try and play with as much freedom as possible. I felt like I did that.”
Grealish then admitted that England manager Gareth Southgate and City manager Pep Guardiola have a lot of tactical differences, but added that he must learn to adapt to both.
“Pep’s a lot more structured [than Southgate],” Grealish said. “You can’t complain because of what he’s done in the game, how successful he is.
“Whereas Gareth is more…obviously you have a formation and a structure, but he says to me, ‘If you feel like you need to go to the other side of the pitch to get the ball then go and do that.’ That’s not really part of the freedom, the freedom is more in myself. Hopefully I can try to transfer that to City.”
Grealish also claimed he is unconcerned about his club’s poor results.
“No, it don’t really bother me,” he concluded. “I could have a lot more assists, even for England. I don’t know how many assists I’ve got in my games, and how many penalties I’ve won, maybe like seven or eight.
“I feel like I haven’t scored enough for England, I still feel like I can score a lot more. Assist-wise, I’ve contributed a lot. I feel like I can get more goal involvements and hopefully I’ll do that next year.”
Grealish joined City from Aston Villa for an English record of £100 million in August 2021, making him the most expensive English footballer ever.
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The 25-year-old spent 19 years at Villa, assisting on 15 goals and scoring 14 himself in 62 Premier League outings since then.