Aston Villa

Keith Hackett has slammed Jack Grealish for his constant cheating at Aston Villa after Graeme Souness’ rant on Sky Sports.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-FIFA and Premier League referee also suggested his trademark child-size shin pads should not be allowed under the laws of the game.

Souness and Micah Richards were discussing on Sky Sports whether Grealish would be a good signing for Manchester United on Sunday.

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Richards praised his former Villa teammate for his ability to “buy fouls” but Souness insisted his actions were cheating.

Asked if he agreed with Souness’ assessment, Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “Absolutely.

“There are two things here. Jack Grealish is the player that receives the ball most and as a consequence that defenders that are challenging him will foul him.

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“He feels the pain of a foul challenge, I don’t. So within that, there are some where he’s fouled, it’s not given and he’s got the pain. There’s some where he thinks ‘He’s touched me, I’m going down.’

“There’s no question he’s a member of the group that go to ground very easily.

“I don’t like the size of his shin pads. I think they’re outside the law. Maybe he should do something about that.

“I think the terminology ‘buying fouls’ is a good one. It’s cheating. There’s no question, if a player goes down when there’s no question is cheating.

“It’s a consequence of teams knowing Jack Grealish is the playmaker, and an outstanding one. He’s the guy receiving the ball most in the team, it goes to say he’s going to be fouled most and defenders will find ways.

Aston Villa

“We’re back to refereeing standards here. What is the difference between a foul and an act of simulation? That’s the job of the referee.

“If the referees are not blowing for the free-kicks then you’re encouraging Grealish to go down.”

In other news, Aston Villa are favourites to sign a forward as £40million is set aside to seal the deal.