By Craig Scott

29th Dec, 2022 | 5:10pm

Gabby Agbonlahor accuses Leeds United players of kicking Jack Grealish in defeat v Manchester City

Gabriel Agbonlahor has defended criticism of Jack Grealish, claiming Leeds United players kicked the Manchester City star around the pitch on Wednesday night.

Grealish, 27, missed three massive opportunities to score at Elland Road before assisting both of Erling Haaland’s goals in a 3-1 City win in West Yorkshire.

The ex-Aston Villa playmaker won a lot of fouls too, leading to Agbonlahor arguing that the England international does affect games massively regardless of whether he’s scoring or assisting.

“Yes, Pep [Guardiola] said he wanted him to be a bit more selfish but if Jack was selfish and didn’t square that to Haaland, and he shot and the ‘keeper saved it, Pep would’ve been jumping up and down kicking even more bottles,” said Agbonlahor on talkSPORT on Thursday morning (29 December, 06:10am).

“You’ve got to be fair and the right thing to do there was to pass to Haaland.

“The lad’s got so much more to his game.

“Look at how many times Leeds were kicking him, players getting yellow cards. Whenever he gets the ball, he turns and he’s got two players on him so another player is free. Haaland’s got [fewer] players on him, does [Riyad] Mahrez have two players on him? No.”

He’s right – in a way

Grealish is a player who you’d absolutely love to have on your side but when your team is playing against him, he’s easy to make out as a villain.

Leeds fans have their reasons for booing and jeering Grealish all night long on Wednesday but the ex-Villa player doesn’t help himself.

While he does win fouls, he buys them.

He buys contact by going to ground very softly and by making himself a target.

He wears those stupidly small shin pads because he knows that players like Mateusz Klich and Rasmus Kristensen are going to try and leave a mark above them.

But in doing that, he wins a free-kick and Kevin De Bruyne or Joao Cancelo are then able to set up goals for the likes of Haaland.

He’s a clever player if anything. But that doesn’t mean fans should like him.

In other Leeds United news, we can exclusively reveal a big update on Stuart Dallas’ recovery from his fractured femur.