Ex-Fifa official salutes Jack Grealish as 'incredible' Man City footage emerges
Keith Hackett has heaped praise on Jack Grealish for how he dealt with the “incredible” atmosphere at Elland Road as Man City beat Leeds United 4-0 on Saturday (30 April).
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Fifa and Premier League referee warned the Leeds fans throwing scrunched up paper onto the pitch could lead to more harmful objects hitting players.
Grealish, 26, was bombarded with paper when taking a corner but laughed it off and diffused the situation so it did not escalate.
He joked on Twitter after the game that he had a “few paper cuts” on his face as a result.
“First of all, we have to give some credit to Jack Grealish,” Hackett said after analysing the footage with Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley.
“What could have been a chance to incite [the crowd], he smiled, took some of the heat off and humanised the situation.
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“We can talk about the paper being thrown but the reality is it is objects being thrown from spectators and paper can conceal something that is worse.
“What surprised me was I didn’t see a march out from security in that direction. It was understated, underplayed from the view that it didn’t create problems.
“You can slip and slide on that paper which I know is taking it to the extreme.
“The atmosphere was incredible but ultimately you can’t put the club and the players in a place where it could escalate.
“The paper is a problem when it comes on to the pitch because you can slide on it but you are giving someone the opportunity to throw something that is not a piece of paper.”