Champions Journalist fan reporter Alice Price is starting to warm to Jack Grealish, with high hopes for his future on the European stage
It still feels odd seeing Jack Grealish running around in a City shirt and playing for my club. That feeling didn’t change after he got subbed on during our win against Atlético de Madrid last night. Despite only playing for just under 30 minutes, there was a glimpse of the ‘old’ Grealish: his ability to draw fouls out of the opposition, a short-temper and the overwhelming desire to be on the ball constantly.
There’s no sugar-coating the mixed reception that he received after he secured the most-talked-about deal of the season: £100m to prise him away from his boyhood club. That price tag brought with it certain expectation that he was expected to live up to. After all, he was about to pull on City’s No10 shirt; the same one tinted with legendary status after our very own hero, Sergio Agüero, decided to move on. Stepping into a club with high standards, not just from the manager but the fans themselves, meant Grealish knew he had to deliver.
Every time I see him on the pitch it feels like some type of fever dream – like, surely this is all a figment of my imagination? With more playing time under his belt, and his budding love of and appreciation for the club, I have definitely moved on from how I felt towards him when he signed. Did I want him to succeed? Of course I did, he plays for my club! But with the daunting role that he has been brought here to fulfil, there was always going to be a side of me that was speckled with hesitation.
Seeing him last night, fulfilling his dream on a Champions League night while playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, left me feeling absolutely immense. As a fan, watching someone thrive alongside some of my favourite players is definitely heart-warming. Despite the hefty price tag, plus the publicity that is constantly surrounding Jack, he’s showing glimpses of his old self – the one that was loved and adored by football fans all over the globe. Hopefully that’s the one who is here to stay!
Jack Grealish is one of the cover stars for our brand new issue. Order yours here