ONE is a free transfer and the other was worth £100m on the market last summer.
But Jonny Williams sees a bit of herself in Jack Grealish ahead of tonight’s FA Cup third round ‘battle of cheats’.
The Swindon midfielder – nicknamed ‘Joniesta’ since his teenage years at Crystal Palace after Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta – loves to hold the ball and foul defenders.
Pep Guardiola will watch County Ground’s game at home after tested positive for Covid.
But the Manchester City boss may notice some traits in Williams in relation to his Nou Camp past and present – with Grealish also known for his dribbling skills.
“We like to play the same game because we both love to dribble and make things happen,” said Williams, 28.
“Grealish is a very gifted player, technically superior and one of the best at carrying the ball. You can’t tell Grealish that he shouldn’t dribble because anyone can see how good he is at bringing the ball onto the pitch.
“His dribbling technique separates him from the rest and that’s what makes him Grealish. Most people have to foul him to get the ball back from him. ”
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Both Williams and Grealish, 26, are used to being kicked in by opposing defences.
In fact, the diminutive was even kicked off by Cristiano Ronaldo during Wales’ Euro 2016 semi-final defeat by Portugal.
Williams has only faced England star Grealish once before, in a friendly at Wembley in October 2020.
That night, the then Aston Villa captain compared himself to Paul Gascoigne for his creative display.
Williams added: “I remember playing against him but I can’t remember kicking him at Wembley or not!
“Dribbling is something I’ve always done since I was a kid.
“I always loved watching Iniesta and Gianfranco Zola when I was growing up.
“Now I like Mateo Kovacic and Marco Verratti but Lionel Messi is the best at holding the ball.
“He is on another level and an unbelievable player.
“A lot of central midfielders love to pass and give orders but the way Kovacic and Verratti hold the ball, control tight, dribble past players in the center of the pitch is worth watching.
“I still get caught by tackles. I want to be a little faster so I don’t get kicked! I remember someone telling me when I was in the Championship with Charlton that I was the most fouled player in the league.
“I tried to change my game, pass the ball faster or touch less but it was like trying to teach someone a completely different sport.
“I was advised by people to change up because people wanted me to stay in shape. In recent years, I have tried to be more convenient on the street but it is difficult to change something.”
Williams has 31 caps and two major tournaments under his reign with Wales.
But he is fully aware of the difficult task ahead for his League Two side after hailing City’s midfield as ‘the most complete’ in Europe.
“It’s not just the starters that they have, but the substitutes in that field,” says Williams.
“I love watching Grealish and Phil Foden because of the way they play the game. They are top players, proper midfielders.
“Man City have the most complete midfield in Europe.
“I have been fortunate to play some of the big games in my career and face some great midfielders like Luka Modric. I enjoyed that moment and I always look back and think I made it.
“The FA Cup is a big deal, especially for clubs like Swindon.
“It’s great to play against the big boys and it’s not much bigger than this.”
https://www.thesun.ie/sport/football/8168050/williams-grealish-transfer-man-city/ Swindon’s Jonny Williams finds himself in Jack Grealish as free transfer prepares to face £100m Man City man in FA Cup