Jack Grealish has been a let-down at Man City and failed to justify £100m transfer fee

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Rodney Marsh, who faced his own issues at Man City, says £100m man Jack Grealish has “gone into his shell” and needs to impose himself on Pep Guardiola’s team

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Rodney Marsh knows what it is like to be a high-profile maverick signing at Manchester City.

Back in 1972, with City on course for the title, Marsh joined for a club -record fee of £200,000, his signing heralded as the move that would confirm Malcolm Allison’s side as champions.

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Yet Marsh’s arrival ultimately derailed City, who blew a four-point lead to finish fourth. Pep Guardiola’s City are unlikely to suffer the same fate, with the Blues already serial title winners.

But in £100m British record singing Jack Grealish, they have a stylish player who, like Marsh, has found it hard to made the expected impact at City, following a much-heralded arrival.

“If you come into a team with great players, you have to impose yourself,” said Marsh.






Jack Grealish has failed to live up to his £100m price tag

“But I don’t think Grealish has done that. I think he’s taken a backward step.

“At best, he’s been peripheral. He seems to have gone into his shell. He doesn’t seem to be the same type of player.

“He’s playing with much better players at City. So when the ball is recycled, it doesn’t get to him the way it did at Aston Villa.

“Whenever Villa got the ball, they used to give it to him all the time. But when you’ve got a lot of top players in the same team, it’s different.

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“He’s playing with much better players at City. So when the ball is recycled, it doesn’t get to him the way it did at Aston Villa.

“Whenever Villa got the ball, they used to give it to him all the time. But when you’ve got a lot of top players in the same team, it’s different.

“I experienced that at City with Mike Summerbee, Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Alan Oakes, who I thought was a marvellous, underrated player.

“I came from QPR to play with great players, but you have to impose yourself on the team and I don’t think Grealish has done that.







Rodney Marsh joined Man City in 1972, but his arrival upset the balance of the side and cost them the title
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Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

“Also, he has too many touches. He has five or six touches of the ball when he could have two, and that slows up the attack.

“Confidence is also a big factor. Watch the number of times he gets the ball. How many times do you see him come inside on his right foot and take a shot?

“At Villa, he used to do it all the time. He didn’t always score or create from it, but at City he’s coming back on to his right foot and playing back to the left-back or into midfield.

“He’s not going at opponents, coming inside and taking a shot. That’s a confidence issue – certainly a lack of it.”

Grealish has just three goals and three assists in 23 games since joining City, a return that shocked Marsh.

“Three goals in 23 games?’ said Marsh. “I didn’t know it was as bad as that.

“For a £100m player, you expect more than that. But if you don’t produce, you’re going to get criticism.

“But he’s still young and Pep’s got a habit of making players much better than they are, so there’s plenty of time.”

Marsh, 77, lives in Florida, where three times a week he co-hosts a football show on Sirius XM radio called Grumpy Pundits.

City host Fulham on Saturday in the FA Cup, Marsh having played for both clubs during a nomadic 25-year career that ended in the US with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.







Jack Grealish has only scored three times in 23 appearances for Man City
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PA)

Despite his four-year spell at City only yielding a League Cup triumph, Marsh looks back on his time there as one of the high points of his career.

“For a short period it was the happiest time of my life,” said Marsh. “I loved Manchester and my relationship with the crowd was fantastic.

“I still get letters and messages now, 40-odd years later, from people talking about this game and that goal, so there’s still a lot of love there.

“I had a real love affair with Manchester. Maybe not with some of the players, but certainly with the fans, the people and the city of Manchester.”

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