Jack Grealish gives Erling Haaland verdict and makes second Man City season prediction
Jack Grealish can’t wait to link up with Erling Haaland — and hopes the “best striker in the world” can help him win the quadruple with Manchester City.
The Premier League champions have wasted no time bolstering their ranks with the incoming arrival of Haaland in a £51.1million deal, while Argentine starlet Julian Alvarez will also link-up at the Etihad in a £14m switch. The two arrivals are a huge signal of intent from Pep Guardiola, who will look to bounce back from his Champions League semi-final heartbreak last season.
It is the signing of Borussia Dortmund’s Norwegian superstar that has got Grealish licking his lips, as he looks to make his season season a more productive one. The former Aston Villa captain registered three goals and three assists in the Premier League last season and, despite helping Mirror Football. secure the top-flight crown, he is eager to show he can do more with the help of Haaland.
“I wish I had scored and assisted more but at the end of the day, I didn’t say that at the start of the season when I came here,” he told Mirror Football.
“The one thing I said was that I wanted to win stuff and the main thing I wanted to win was the Premier League. That was my main target and I’ve done that. I know personally I can push on next year and hopefully I do.
“We’ve signed a top striker, probably the best striker in the world in Haaland, so I’m sure he will contribute. It will be a season to look forward to.”
When asked whether he hopes he can hit the ground running with Haaland, Grealish added: “I hope so. But I’m sure there are a lot of people in our team that are thinking the same.
“It’s not just about me. I’m sure he will have a good understanding with Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden, Raheem (Sterling), everyone in those forward positions. I’m looking forward to playing with him. Who wouldn’t be? As a No.9, he’s definitely in the top two, top one in the world. I can’t wait for next season.”
Grealish looks back on his debut season at the Etihad with a smile on his face. He arrived in a mammoth £100million deal, making him the most expensive footballer in Britain, and he knows that tag comes with added pressure.
His first campaign under Pep Guardiola was a learning curve — and understandably so. Having arrived fresh from England’s heroics at the Euros last summer, it took time for Grealish to settle and he never really cemented a regular first-team spot for his new club.
However he believes he has silenced his critics by finishing the season with silverware and, in comments that will no doubt delight Guardiola, Grealish has his eyes on an historic quadruple when he returns for pre-season.
He added: “You can imagine what the critics would have said; if I would have went for the price tag that I went for and then not win anything in my first season.
“To be able to prove them wrong and even just sit at home with my Premier League medal is a dream come true. I just want to win everything that I play in. We want to win. At the end of your career, you look back on your medals and what you’ve won.
“I’m not saying I just want to win the Champions League next year. I want to win everything. I want to win the FA Cup, the Carabao Cup, the Premier League. That’s what I’ve come here to do.
“I think I will improve next year, I know I will. I know there will be even more pressure on me next year than there was this year.”
The Champions League will be an added motivation for Grealish and Co, after they suffered a heartbreaking defeat by eventual winners Real Madrid in last season’s semi-final. Madrid clinched a 14th European Cup crown after beating City’s fierce rivals Liverpool in the final last weekend.
Grealish is currently on international duty for England’s Nations League clashes with Hungary, Germany and Italy — with the squad also featuring Liverpool star Trent Alexander-Arnold. It may well take some time for the Reds ace to recover from his European heartbreak — but he’ll receive an arm around his shoulder from his England pals.
Grealish added: “We are all friends here. Gareth Southgate has done a brilliant job here. It’s not how it used to be. We know when we come here we have a job to do together even if we might be rivals on a Saturday. That’s what we did at the Euros last summer.
“There was the final between City and Chelsea and then they all met a few days later. It was fine. It is obviously just part of football. Someone was always bound to lose and always bound to win. We knew straight after that we had a job to do together to try and win the Euros. Unfortunately we fell short but we gave it a right good go. Like I say, we’re all one team.”
Grealish was speaking as part of McDonalds’ Fun Football programme, which will deliver over 10.5 million hours of Fun Football over the course of the next four years making it the largest grassroots participation programme in the UK. The programme will be delivered in collaboration with the Irish FA, Scottish FA, The Football Association of Wales and a network of national coaching providers.
McDonald’s will continue to improve the accessibility of the Fun Football programme through training and upskilling of coaches. Ensuring over 800 Fun Football coaches have disability coaching badges and partnering with Kick It Out to make sure every Fun Football coach takes part in anti-discrimination training.
Alongside upskilling Fun Football providers, the programme will recruit over 100 women’s football coaches to support with increasing girl’s participation.
McDonald’s Fun Football is offering one million kids access to FREE football over the next four years as part of the largest grassroots football programme in the UK. Start your kids football journey by visiting McDonalds.co.uk/Football