Jack Grealish defended by ex-Aston Villa team-mate as Man City fan urges Pep Guardiola to bench him and start Phil Foden instead
Gabby Agbonlahor has come to the defense of Jack Grealish after a Manchester City fan pleaded with Pep Guardiola to remove him from the starting XI.
The former Aston Villa star was part of the City side that were held 1-1 by Everton at the Etihad Stadium at the weekend.
As a result, Pep Guardiola’s title hopes have taken a hit, with Arsenal looking unstoppable in their current form.
Guardiola made full use of his first team and started with Rico Lewis, Nathan Ake, Riyad Mahrez and Grealish in his XI, leaving Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Phil Foden and Julian Alvarez on the bench.
But despite being held at 1-1, it was the 87th minute before Ilkay Gundogan, England star Foden and World Cup winner Alvarez were brought onto the pitch.
It was a disappointing display from the entire Man City squad against Frank Lampard’s Toffees, but Grealish’s £100million price tag means he has a target on his back.
However, in truth, it was a poor performance from the England playmaker who failed to create chances for his side.
One Man City supporter Jack called talkSPORT’s Gameday Phone-In with Jamie O’Hara and Gabby Agbonlahor, and he wasn’t in a good mood.
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As part of a long rant about Guardiola’s late replacements, he took aim at Grealish and insisted enough was enough.
He told talkSPORT: “Jack Grealish, don’t get me started on him.
“Start Phil Foden. Please Pep, just throw in Phil Foden.
“Foden is the most talented young player in this country and he leaves him on the bench until there are three minutes left.
“I had enough!”
However, responding to criticism from his friend and former Aston Villa team-mate, Agbonlahor came to Grealish’s defence.
The former Villa captain said: “I thought Jack had done well.
“I think Mahrez was poor. I would have brought Foden for Mahrez earlier.
“But it’s Pep [who is to blame]he makes his subs too late.
It’s not the first time Agbonlahor has defended Grealish amid heavy criticism over his performances at City.
Earlier this year, fellow talkSPORT host Jamie O’Hara compared it to when Roy Keane defends ‘pal’ Cristiano Ronaldo and admitted Grealish doesn’t prove value for money.
“Jack Grealish is a great player, but he doesn’t produce – it’s as simple as that,” said the former Tottenham midfielder.
“I really like Jack, I have nothing against him, but he keeps getting substituted early in games, he doesn’t score goals and he doesn’t get assists.
“You are paying £100m for a player who is not performing. I only say what I see.