Jack Grealish has the perfect stage to make up for Man City setback vs PSG – Manchester Evening News

Jack Grealish already knew it, but there is a world of difference between huge Champions League nights and flying the flag for your beloved, hometown team.

That is not to offer a disservice to Aston Villa – they are a remarkable club in their own right and, as they proved in some style at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime, there is life beyond their former talisman.

Grealish’s inability to make a telling impact against PSG was documented with great articulacy by Joe Bray; one of the fantastic City writers here at Manchester Evening News – and there’s no doubt it will prove to be no more than a momentary set-back for his career under Pep Guardiola.

His swashbuckling performances for Villa – and England at Euro 2020 – convinced Guardiola and the key figures who are responsible for transfers here at the Etihad Stadium to break the £100million barrier.

That was testament to how highly City rate Grealish – and they still do.

By no means was he alone in not being able to make a mark last night, as Raheem Sterling and others will testify, although that lens was, perhaps, a little more focussed for a fresh face who understands what it takes to lead the charge.

Grealish will respond to his first real challenge at City – and so will the club as a whole.

How many goals/assists will Grealish provide this season? Have your say in the comments section below.

No sooner than Guardiola’s team has issued their own statement of intent in the Premier League, they were on the receiving end of a similar message in European terms. PSG – with Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar Jnr at the forefront – are not here to play games.

It doesn’t get any easier when looking at the schedule for City and their stylish number 10, armed with a headband and those trademark miniature shin pads.

Delving not so deeply into the subplot of their contest with Liverpool, though, offers him a welcome invitation.

Even at 35, veteran James Milner is as game as they come when launching into cutthroat individual battles that are served up by the Premier League. With the greatest respect to the former City man, though, he is not a natural right back and he is not Trent Alexander-Arnold. Nor he is Achraf Hakimi, for that matter.

An injury to his England teammate Alexander-Arnold and a would-be absence vs City will come as welcome news to Guardiola – and Grealish – amid this hugely testing schedule that has had to be negotiated.

Using a cricketing analogy, the ex-Villa talisman has found it tough-going against frontline spinners, but also has to keep his focus when dealing with a part-time option.

Grealish should be licking his lips at the prospect of turning Milner inside out at Anfield.

It might not turn out that way, of course – and as indicated above the Liverpool man will stand there and trade all day long if he has to.

Ultimately, though, this is a top-level player who cost £100million and will only get better. Grealish will continue to be asked questions throughout his time with City. It’s about how quickly and effectively he answers them – and we are set to discover how he might approach those conundrums.

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