Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that Jack Grealish and Phil Foden were both left out of the matchday squad to play Newcastle United for disciplinary reasons.
BBC Sport report that this follows Grealish and Foden being pictured on a night out shortly after City’s recent 7-0 win over Leeds United in the Premier League, with Guardiola quoted in the article as saying he keeps a close eye on his players’ behaviour off the pitch.
The two England internationals have been key players for Guardiola’s side, though it’s clear the Spanish tactician expects very high standards from everyone in his squad.
Speaking about their absence from the Newcastle game, Guardiola said: “I pay a lot of attention to behaviour on and off the pitch.
“And when off the pitch is not proper they are not going to play.
“So they have to be focused all the time because the distractions in the Christmastime and everything that happens – you have to still be focused.”
City fans may well be concerned by this development, as it continues a difficult start to life at the Etihad Stadium for summer signing Grealish.
The 26-year-old looked a world class performer during his time at Aston Villa, but he’s not shown his best form in a City shirt so far.
CaughtOffside understands Grealish has found it tricky to settle in at his new club, and this latest setback surely won’t help things in terms of his relationship with Guardiola.
Speaking to CaughtOffside last week, former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick told us how he felt Grealish could turn things around for himself at City.
“Pep plays the game in a certain way and I don’t think he’d break that for anyone really. He had Lionel Messi, one of the best players that ever lived, and he’d do the work at Barcelona just like everyone else did,” Chadwick said.
“Grealish is a world class player, but so’s Phil Foden, so’s Bernardo Silva, so whoever does that job most effectively in that shape and structure, they’re the ones who are going to play, because that’s what wins games. It’s down to the player to a certain extent to fit into that structure, because he knew that was the structure going into that club.”