Aston Villa star Jack Grealish and Manchester United icon Roy Keane don’t have much in common. They’re two different players, in two different positions. But what they do share is excellent leadership skills. And with the Red Devils looking to sign Grealish this summer, the 24-year-old could actually end up being a replacement for Keane – of sorts.
Grealish is a colourful character. He’s attracted his fair share of controversy over the years, with scandals following him throughout his career.
Back in 2015, the youngster was snapped on the streets of Tenerife after a night out. He was forced to apologise for his actions to then Villa manager Tim Sherwood.
Less than a year later there were allegations of him taking laughing gas, or ‘hippy crack’. While the substance isn’t illegal, it was another unsavoury episode for the player.
And then, just last month, Grealish did arguably the worst thing you can possibly do in the United Kingdom at this moment in time: leave the house.
He attended a small gathering at a mate’s house and the Villa captain later apologised on his social media account, urging fans to stay safe and stay home to protect the NHS.
But while all of these incidents aren’t pleasant, that hasn’t stopped United from still pursuing a transfer deal for Grealish ahead of the summer window.
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a big admirer of the 24-year-old and feels he can offer his side many things: from brilliance on the pitch to leadership, too.
Because that’s the thing. Grealish has a tendency to self-implode but he’s been a brilliant captain for Villa, shining amid a testing season under Dean Smith.
His leadership qualities are what has particularly endeared him to Solskjaer, who now wants the Villa star having formerly been keen on Leicester’s James Maddison.
Grealish has raised the standards of the club. He was particularly key in his side’s charge to the Carabao Cup final, where they were narrowly beaten by Manchester City at Wembley.
Solskjaer wants players who have the right character, as well as the ability, to succeed at Old Trafford. And he feels the positives of bringing Grealish to the club far outweigh the negatives.
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In many ways, he could be their modern day Keane.
He was another who raised the standards. When he signed, he had a huge impact on the United dressing room.
He was also no stranger to controversy either.
These days, if a player was to do what Keane did to Alf-Inge Haaland in 2001, they’d be facing a fight to stay at the club.
But United stood by the Republic of Ireland international because, again, they felt he brought more good to the side than good.
Solskjaer may seem all smiles to the natural observer and average football fan.
But behind the scenes he’s ruthless. He’s willing to do anything to win in order to get United back to the top and where they used to be.
That may involve signing a character like Grealish. Somebody who can make the headlines for the right reasons, more than the wrong ones.
His past episodes shouldn’t be looked down upon. Everybody makes mistakes.
And that’s Solskjaer’s view. He’s willing to forgive and forget in order to bring the playmaker to Old Trafford. Grealish could then do what Keane did at the club – lift them to new heights.
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