Paul McGrath defends Jack Grealish from Aston Villa and Ireland fan criticism

Paul McGrath defends Jack Grealish.

Paul McGrath has leapt to the defence of Jack Grealish after some Aston Villa fans booed the returning midfielder on Wednesday night.

Grealish played at Villa Park for the first time since moving to Manchester City over the summer, as Pep Guardiola’s side sealed a 2-1 victory over their hosts.

Paul McGrath: “Ireland got a slap as well.”

The 26-year-old boyhood Villa supporter had previously been a hero to fans of the Birmingham side but after he came on in the 87th minute, it was clear that some still haven’t forgiven him for leaving the club, with the small amount of appreciative cheers being drowned out by boos.

The scenes have prompted Villa legend McGrath to defend Grealish, with the ex-Ireland defender deciding to begin his 62nd birthday by sending a message to fans on Twitter.

“To be fair to Aston Villa supporters, I think we would all have loved Jack to remain at the club,” McGrath posted on Saturday morning. “Big boy pants , he was always going to leave.”

“Ireland got a slap as well,” he added, referencing Grealish’s 2015 decision to change his international allegiance to England.

“But is he a bad lad for wanting more of the spotlight? Honestly, no! The man is gifted.”

Grealish sale brings in £100 million.

McGrath, nicknamed ‘God’ by the club’s supporters, remains an influential figure at Villa Park so Grealish will hope that his words can have an effect the next time he returns to his old club.

While Grealish did leave the club, Villa received £100 million for his services from Man City, some of which was used to bring in big-money signings such as Leon Bailey and Danny Ings.

After Wednesday’s game, Grealish paid tribute to the Villa fans who didn’t boo him, posting on Instagram to say: “Great performance and an important three points! Thank you so much for the great reception at Villa Park, was brilliant to be back.”

McGrath is clearly the forgiving type and as a Villa fan, he will no doubt shift focus to the next task at hand, which is returning to winning ways when the club host Leicester City on Sunday afternoon.


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