Marko Grujic was not trying hard enough during his initial Cardiff City training sessions, claims manager Neil Warnock.
However, the veteran boss admires the Serb’s talent enormously and claims he’s quickly ‘toughened up’!
Grujic is spending the rest of the season on loan at Cardiff in the Championship, where he’s playing the first-team football he so desperately needed.
He’s already made three appearances, putting in the kind of defensive work-rate that made him trend on Twitter in the victory over Leeds..
“He’s catching up and he’s getting better,” Warnock told WalesOnline.
“It’s difficult for him to be flung straight in, with the second game being Manchester City.
“I think it’s toughened him up being with us. When he first came into training, he left a little bit to be desired should we say.
“But you soon get into it with us – when you train as hard as we do, you want to be like that.
“And I think it’s improved his game. The minimum requirement is effort because when you have ability like he has, it comes through on top. I think he’s realised that early doors and wants to stay in the team.
“He wants to play and wants to go to the World Cup. He’s in the window and has got 17 games to show it.
“I won’t play him if he doesn’t deserve to be in the team – I keep reading I’ve got to play him but all it is is that he have to pay more money if I don’t. The club agreed to that so it’s not my worry.”
We really hope the loan spell goes well for the 21-year-old. When he arrived, there was massive hope for Grujic, who shone in pre-season, but for various reasons, he’s not developed at the rate everyone hoped.
The physical Championship should harden him before next term – as will Warnock!
We wonder if he’s given Grujic one of his famous dressing downs yet?!