I love Robert Pires, but I love Dennis Bergkamp more, so I’m going to try to be nice about what follows…
“Jack is a great footballer with a good technique – and I love watching him play because he reminds me of Dennis Bergkamp,” Pires said ahead of the League Cup final on Sunday that saw Aston Villa push City to the wire only to lose 2-1.
“I like to see him playing in the same position as Dennis, as a No.10.
“He has great vision, he isn’t a selfish player because he always wants to do what is best for the team, and I think he has a great future.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on Jack because he is still a young player learning the game [he’s 24-and-a-half] and Dennis was an incredible talent and a champion [he had just turned 26 when Arsenal signed him].
“But Grealish is a very complete player and I think the key for him is to keep playing like he enjoys his football.
“City need to find a replacement for Silva next season – and I think Grealish is someone who Pep will look at.
“He is English, he has good experience of the Premier League and he has a great technique.
“But I think Grealish is a player who would interest a lot of top clubs, like United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
“This has been a tough season for Villa, but I think Grealish will take a lot from it. He has learned how to fight every weekend and we have all seen how much it means to him to play for the club.
“Playing against Man City at Wembley is a great stage for Jack.”
Against City at Wembley, Grealish managed no shots, a 75% pass accuracy and 46 touches (just six more than his keeper).
That, perhaps, is not surprising given how Villa conceded possession/City dominated it. He did, at least, manage a key pass, but it was an underwhelming performance from a player who has generally played better than that this season.
He also made no accurate crosses, no through balls, no tackles, no interceptions and no clearances.
While Pires compares Grealish to Bergkamp, I’m just going to imagine the headlines if Mesut Ozil returned those sort of figures in a cup final…