Grealish on special relationship with City chief Smith
- Credit: PA
Jack Grealish has revealed he watched Dean Smith's first game in charge of Norwich City in support of his former boss.
The £100m Manchester City man was coached by Smith during their time together at Aston Villa and Grealish has highlighted their special relationship before in previous interviews.
Smith was relieved of his duties at his boyhood club after failing to provide the upward trajectory the ownership were hoping to see despite losing a major cog in his side in Grealish earlier in the summer.
Villa's summer recruitment looked impressive on paper, with Leon Bailey arriving for a reported £30m fee and ex-City man Emi Buendia becoming their new record signing in a £33m deal.
A run of five straight defeats sealed Smith's fate, but the 50-year-old was back in management just over a week later with the Canaries.
Grealish has credited Smith with a key role in his development that attracted him to a host of top clubs including Manchester United. Eventually, it was Pep Guardiola who was willing to match a £100m release clause inserted into his Villa contract.
His first goal for Manchester City arrived against the Canaries earlier this season and Grealish has struggled to replicate the form he displayed with Villa under Smith last season.
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Like Smith, Grealish is a boyhood Villa fan and has admitted he was 'devastated' to see his former head coach depart the club after three years at the helm of the Midlands club.
Smith has made an impact on both performances and results during his three games in charge of City, picking up five points from a possible nine.
During his first game in the City hotseat, Smith had an avid viewer cheering him on from afar. Grealish has admitted he consumed the Canaries' 2-1 victory over Southampton to support his former boss.
“I was devastated to see Dean go. I FaceTimed him straight away after the news and spoke to him for about 20 minutes,” he told the Telegraph. “I was so happy to see him go straight back in at Norwich. I actually watched his first Norwich game on a stream, with the Villa game on at the same time.
“He’s one of the best human beings I’ve ever come across. My family absolutely loves his family to bits.
“The day I left Villa, after I spoke to the staff, I shook everyone’s hand. But I gave the gaffer a big hug.”
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