Jack Grealish has confessed he feels freer when he plays with England than with Manchester City.
The £100m man endured a tricky debut season with City, chipping in with six goals and four assists in 39 appearances, and he was not always a regular in Pep Guardiola’s starting lineup.
Grealish is looking to put those issues behind him this summer with England and started that process with an impressive 18-minute cameo off the bench against Germany, after which he confessed he feels he plays with more freedom on the international stage.
“I feel at times I’ve played a bit safe at City, but when I come here I feel like even in training I train really well, score goals, get assists,” he said.
“When I come on the pitch I do feel like I play with a lot more freedom here, and hopefully I can transfer that into my club football and keep on improving.”
On his showing against Germany, Grealish added: “That’s what the manager asked me to do, go on and be myself and try and create, and that’s what I did. I feel sometimes when I’m here I can try and play with as much freedom as possible. I felt like I did that.”
Grealish went on to confess that there are plenty of tactical differences between England boss Gareth Southgate and City’s Pep Guardiola, but insisted he must learn how to adapt to both.
“Pep’s a lot more structured [than Southgate],” Grealish said. “You can’t complain because of what he’s done in the game, how successful he is.
“Whereas Gareth is more…obviously you have a formation and a structure, but he says to me, ‘If you feel like you need to go to the other side of the pitch to get the ball then go and do that.’ That’s not really part of the freedom, the freedom is more in myself. Hopefully I can try to transfer that to City.”
Grealish also insisted he is not concerned by his underwhelming statistics at club level.
“No, it don’t really bother me,” he concluded. “I could have a lot more assists, even for England. I don’t know how many assists I’ve got in my games, and how many penalties I’ve won, maybe like seven or eight.
“I feel like I haven’t scored enough for England, I still feel like I can score a lot more. Assist-wise, I’ve contributed a lot. I feel like I can get more goal involvements and hopefully I’ll do that next year.”
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