Paul Scholes has told Jack Grealish that he must challenge himself at a big club amid transfer interest from Manchester United.
United tracked Grealish last summer, but the financial restrictions placed upon the club by the coronavirus pandemic coupled with Aston Villa avoiding relegation, meant that a transfer was never possible.
In September, Grealish penned a new long-term deal with Villa that does not expire until 2025, which has increased his price substantially.
The midfielder has stepped up his level of performance again this season, leading Villa to a top-half position in the table. Grealish has provided six goals and 10 assists in 22 Premier League games and has routinely won matches single-handedly for Dean Smith’s side.
As such, his performances have garnered talk of him winning the PFA Player of the Year, but Scholes believes that Grealish must produce at a top club before he can be considered for such an award, adding that Grealish must ‘get out now’ and challenge himself at one of the biggest teams in the division.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love the player, but if he was doing this at Man United, Liverpool, City, one of the top clubs, then he’d be up there, he’d possibly be top three,” the former United midfielder told Optus Sport.
“There is no pressure on Villa. If he is at a top club then he needs to win every week. He needs to leave Villa to prove that [he is a top player].
“Jack Grealish is probably the same [as Paolo Di Canio]. It is all about him at Aston Villa. He needs to get out now to a club that need to win every week, there is pressure to deliver trophies. He is capable of doing it, but there will always be a doubt until you do it.”
Joe Cole added that Grealish’s situation is similar to his at West Ham, stating that the English international must now prove that he can ‘link into a Manchester United team’.
“I’ve been in that team where you are the player people look to, when I was younger at West Ham,” he added. “I got itchy feet at a certain age; I wasn’t developing as a player because I was trying to do things I wasn’t good at, trying to do everything.
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Manchester United were denied a penalty in controversial fashion against Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players were furious that Callum Hudson-Odoi wasn’t penalised for a handball, as they had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge. The point leaves United 12 points behind leaders Man City, with Crystal Palace the next opponents.
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“At times with Jack (it is the same, although) he has cracked it a little bit this year with better players around him. When he goes to a bigger club – which he needs to – he will go onto the next level.
“When you are playing in a struggling team, it is tough. When you have a big game it is more satisfying because he is dragging his whole team with him, but the next challenge is can he go and link into a Manchester United team.”