Adapting to life at Manchester City must be difficult for players.
Indeed, not only is the expectation great, but working under Pep Guardiola looks taxing. One of the most intense managers in world football, the City boss is never one to be satisfied and seems hell-bent on improving on a daily basis.
Throw in a thoroughly complex tactical system and, frankly, it’s easy to see why most of us aren’t cut out for it.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the early signs are that Jack Grealish can, however.
Emerging as a national hero during England’s run to the Euro 2020 final, the 26-year-old has scored twice while laying on as many assists in his opening six games for the club after a £100m summer move.
Still, Grealish did appear to be on the receiving end of a Guardiola special.
Such is the demand Guardiola puts on his players, the Spaniard was seen berating both Grealish and teammate Riyad Mahrez even while City were leading against RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium.
Many have accused the former Barcelona manager of using this particular tactic in a performative manner, merely acting up for the cameras in an attempt to enhance the genius of his system.
Grealish, however, played the incident down when speaking to BT Sport after the game.
“That was just defensive work, I won’t go too much into it because he might want the same tactics at the weekend,” he said (via The Daily Mail).
“That’s what the manager is like, he’s always wanting more defensively and offensively, and he’s obviously someone that I’m going to listen to after everything he’s done in the game. He’s just giving out useful information.”
After game, Guardiola himself revealed that he felt neither Grealish of Mahrez were doing their share of the defensive work.
“We spoke in half-time about the way we have to do it and they didn’t do it,” he said (via talkSPORT).
“They are so good, they make four players in the build up to attract you behind the holding midfielders where there aren’t a lot of players, where the ball goes outside and they are so fast when they attack in behind.
“It’s not easy to control it but when you regain that ball there are many players in front of the ball and in the transition to make one or two passes in behind you have a chance to attack.”
With those standards set, it will be fascinating to see how Grealish develops from here.