Search icon


30th Jul 2022

“The penny has to drop” – Roy Keane lays it on the line to Jack Grealish

Patrick McCarry

‘This will define a player, these moments’

At the end of last season, as Manchester City celebrated another league title at Eastlands, Roy Keane was asked if he had any advice for Jack Grealish.

“Yeah,” Keane quickly shot back. “Stay off the top shelf!”

Keane and Grealish go back a stretch, due to the Birmingham native being close to playing senior international football with Ireland. The former Manchester United captain was assistant to Martin O’Neill when Grealish, after years within the Irish underage set-up, declared he intended to switch allegiances to England.

Keane remains a fan of Grealish the player, though. He wanted Manchester United to sign him, in 2021, before the 26-year-old opted to join City.

In the lead-up to the Premier League season, Keane joined several of his Sky Sports punditry colleagues to hit on some of the big talking points. Asked if the upcoming season was crucial for Grealish to quell any doubts about him being able to consistently produce at the highest level, Keane said:

“We’ll try and give Jack the benefit of the doubt… We’re thinking maybe he should have gone to City and maybe adapted a bit quicker but sometimes it can be difficult.

“He’s gone in and not really had the run of games, he had one or two injuries earlier in the season, he would have been disappointed even in the last game being left out against his old club Aston Villa but they got over the line.”

Jack Grealish

Roy Keane not writing Jack Grealish off

Roy Keane believes Jack Grealish will, after a season under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, have adapted to the demands of the Spaniard.

“I think Pep certainly would have been intense with him and maybe Jack wasn’t quite used to that,” said Keane.

“We’ve seen him being left out of big games for City and Gareth [Southgate] has done the same with England. The penny has to drop with Jack, if you want to be a real top player you’ve got to step up to the plate a bit more and the manager’s got to have a bit of trust with him.

“Again fine lines, with Jack, an attacking player, we saw Jack in the Real Madrid game he had one or two chances.

“But this will define a player, these moments, can you put the ball in the back of the net and get your team into the final? And that’s where Jack has just come up short, but I wouldn’t be writing him off just yet.”

Grealish scored three goals in 26 Premier League appearances, and scored once in seven Champions League outings.

Ahead of the Community Shield clash between City and Liverpool, Keane reiterated his points about Grealish on ITV and said the attacker should be ‘older and wiser’ this season.