Grealish’s latest episode could see Man Utd turn transfer interest elsewhere

As one of the Premier League's most exciting young talents, Jack Grealish has the world at his feet.

On the cusp of an England call-up and with Manchester United ready to bid £60million for him this summer, few players have more going for them.

But the 24-year-old's actions on Sunday morning may have jeopardised both of those ambitions and caused significant damage to his burgeoning career.

With the world on lockdown because of the coronavirus, Grealish was pictured standing next to a damaged Range Rover, looking dishevelled, amid claims of all-night partying.

Witnesses claim the driver of the £80,000 vehicle clipped several parked cars before leaving his details and departing the scene before police arrived to investigate.

Whatever the truth, whether he was driving or not, the episode reflects appallingly on Grealish, whose prodigious talent would appear to be matched by any common sense.

The latest alleged incident is not the first time Grealish, 24, has courted controversy off the field since making his Aston Villa debut six years ago.

He was pictured – seemingly drunk – sprawled on a Tenerife street in 2015, the same year he was filmed inhaling nitrous oxide, an act for which then Villa boss Tim Sherwood said Grealish was “ashamed”.

While those episodes occurred when Grealish was still a teenager and could be blamed on youthful naivety, five years on and the Villa captain would appear not to have learned his lesson.

The irony is, less than 24 hours before he was pictured on Sunday morning, Grealish had posted a video on Twitter, urging his followers to stay indoors during the coronavirus outbreak.

“To help save lives you must stay at home,” said Grealish. “Only leave your house to buy food, to buy medicine or to exercise, and remember to stay at least two metres apart. This is urgent, protect the NHS. Stay at home, save lives.”

Unfortunately for Grealish, he failed to heed that advice himself, and could now end up paying a heavy price for his reckless actions.

England boss Gareth Southgate expects high standards of behaviour from his players, taking a hard line on discipline when they break the rules.

Raheem Sterling, dropped after an altercation with Joe Gomez, and James Madisson, warned by Southgate after visiting a casino having withdrawn from a squad through illness, can testify to the England manager's tough side.

With that in mind, Grealish could well find his wait for a full England call-up extended after Sunday's episode.

And throughout his time in charge of United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stressed how character is just as important as ability.

For Solskajer, a player must be a role model off the field and represent the club the right way, as much as having an impact on it.

"We’ve tried to educate our players and our kids to be proper people,” said Solskajer. “In my view, the best players have always been the best people.

"You have to have that value system and a certain kind of attitude about you to make a United player.”

Against that backdrop, it is not unreasonable to deduce Solskjaer took a dim view of Grealish's latest alleged public misdemeanour.

Grealish is one of Solskjaer's top targets, but the United boss may now have doubts about such a move, given the importance he places on a player's integrity.

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