Jack Grealish was on the BBC moaning about unfair criticism of Gareth Southgate and said:
“… I thought it was harsh but sometimes that’s what you get if you’re English. I’ve had my fair share…”
Kevin De Bruyne has recently said Jack Grealish is an easy target for unfair criticism and believes his Manchester City teammate is judged more harshly, simply because he is English.
I don’t think it was because he was English that since the start of this season, a group of Belgian football commentators have been referring to the Million Pound W(h)inger as Jack Beerlish.
Perhaps it comes down to the fact that if you are a highly paid, high profile sportsman, playing in the most high profile league in the world there is a certain level of behavioural expectation.
Getting a little tipsy and badmouthing fellow professionals (Miguel Almiron incident)
in front of the world’s media is pretty much the exact opposite of that.
Kevin De Bruyne is revered in Belgium, to the extent that any foul on him is worthy of a red card.
I’ll not tell you what they said about that Kieran Trippier professional foul!
Suffice to say, St Kevin’s foul on Bruno was down to the Newcastle player exaggerating.
However, what would happen if De Bruyne started drinking excessively and turned into a party animal, would the Belgian media have him for breakfast on a plate like the English media would most certainly do?
Looking at the example of Radja Nainggolan who was, shall we say, a bit of a lad at times; the only person who seemed to have any issue with this was Roberto Martinez. Supporters of the Red Devils called for his reinstatement to the national team long after he announced his retirement!
Maybe if Diego Maradona had played in the Premier League he might also have been hounded by the British press, but we’ll never know…and let’s be honest, Grealish is not Maradona.
Maybe it’s lack of media training that causes these problems with English footballers… an uncertainty of how to behave at large public events… or maybe it’s a failure to accept that the rules that apply to the rest of us also apply to them.
Most of us ‘normal people’ generally avoid getting totally sh.tfaced at work social events because we know that you might find yourself picking up your cards the following work day.
Maybe a short sharp spell of real work might help focus the minds of young footballers…
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