In Manchester City’s 3-0 victory over Wolves on Saturday, Jack Grealish scored his first goal, and Kevin De Bruyne is confident it will be the first of many this season.
In an effort to justify his £100 million price tag, Jack Grealish’s Manchester City career is running out of time.
As he begins what might be a pivotal second season during this World Cup year, thoughts about his record-breaking move will be determined by the unstoppable march of time.
The former Aston Villa star has been under a lot of strain and has been itching for more goals and assists.
And Kevin De Bruyne acknowledges it was not a coincidence that Grealish gave his best performance with a brilliant showing after scoring the game’s first goal in just 55 seconds during Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Wolves.
The 27-year-old Grealish made the type of patented display that earned him his first move last summer as soon as he poked the ball in to open his account this year.
He took players on at will and left defenders lagging as the ball appeared to be stuck to his foot.
“If you start in the way we did, it is an incentive to say: OK, I’ve got a goal and am maybe a bit more free in my mind to do what I need to do,” said City captain De Bruyne, 31, who cost £55m when he joined in 2015.
“As a football player, there are moments when finding the net is simple, and other times when it is a little bit more difficult.
I believe that for him, starting out this way and playing forward makes things a little bit simpler. When you are an excellent player, critics will be present.
Everyone will evaluate you against the criteria you set for yourself if you do. He has had some aches and injuries this year, but he seems to be playing well to me.
He had a strong preseason debut, but in the second match against Bournemouth, he slightly injured his ankle.
I’m not too concerned. He is okay. It doesn’t matter how well he performs for us as long as we win the games.”
In the 16th minute, Erling Haaland had plenty of time and space to score for the seventh game in a row.
The summer acquisition for City extended their lead to bring his total to 14 goals in nine games.
With Raul Jimenez injured and Diego Costa watching from the seats, Wolves’ hopes were all but dashed when Collins was given a red card.
They never looked like they would add to their pitiful total of three league goals.
Midway through the second half, Phil Foden converted De Bruyne’s low cross to seal City’s triumph.
De Bruyne’s assist was his 92nd in 217 appearances. “It is fantastic to help my team,” said De Bruyne.