‘Massive step up’ Gary Neville has this warning for Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish will have to work harder than ever before to live up to his potential in the Premier League, former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has claimed.
The Sky Sports pundit has criticised Grealish in the past for the way in which the Villa youngster handled his decision to declare for England over the Republic of Ireland.
Neville now believes that the Aston Villa captain will be tested mentally by the step up from the Championship.
Speaking during a questions and answers session of Sky Sports’ Big Premier League Season Debate, Neville explained that every aspect of Grealish’s game will be tested as he must adapt from playing for one of the top teams in the division to being the underdog.
In particular, he says, Grealish will have to step things up in defence as well as learning to deal with less time on the ball.
“He’s in the Premier League now and it’s a massive step up,” Neville said.
“The team that he’s playing for – you look at those top six teams – he’ll be playing a lot more without the ball than maybe he was in the Championship so there’s massive changes for him to come.
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“The demands on him from a defensive point of view, from being effective for the team without the ball are as important. You look at Manchester City now or Liverpool – and the great teams always do – they remove this idea that you can have a luxury player, that you can have somebody who only plays one in two [games].
“All the great players in the world – Messi, Ronaldo – they’re at it every single game. Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne, Mane, Salah, Firmino – the hardest-working players in the world are the best players in the world sometimes.
“So now I think he’s going into a different level. He’s now in the company of these great players and it’s whether he can step up and live in that company.”