Thursday 8 December 2016

'Frustrated' Keane feels Grealish missed out by refusing call

Published 06/06/2015 | 02:30

Roy Keane feels Jack Grealish would have gained a positive insight into the Irish squad if he’d accepted the call from Martin O’Neill
Roy Keane feels Jack Grealish would have gained a positive insight into the Irish squad if he’d accepted the call from Martin O’Neill

Jack Grealish could have been with the Ireland squad for tomorrow's friendly with England and Roy Keane has hinted that he expects the teenager to continue his international career with Roy Hodgson's side.

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Keane worked with Grealish for a brief period at Aston Villa and, while he was previously critical of the player's father Kevin, he has spoken highly of the 19-year-old himself.

The Corkman did not offer a firm opinion on what he thinks might happen next with the playmaker, yet he suggested that he is frustrated by how the matter has played out over the last month.

He feels that Grealish would have gained a positive insight into the Irish squad if he'd accepted the call from O'Neill.

"I think the frustrating part is that if Jack came here he'd have loved it, playing with Ireland and the senior squad and getting involved," said Keane. "He'd have loved it.

"There seems to be a blame game going on. Jack was unsure what he wanted to do and we've got to respect his decision whether we like it or not, it's irrelevant.

"What I found working with Jack in my short time at club level is that he's a really good kid.

"Obviously, I've never been in that situation and whatever decision he makes will be the right one, whether we like it or not."

Asked directly if he feels Ireland have lost out, Keane replied: "He has obviously not made any official decision yet, so we'll have to wait and see."

Is he hopeful? "You have to be," he continued, before dealing with an opinion that the balance appeared to be tipping towards England.

"He was over at the FAI awards, he's a really nice kid and no doubt it's a difficult decision for him. If you're a betting man. . . I've got my own personal thoughts on what he's going to do."

There is confidence in English circles that Grealish will throw in his lot with the country of his birth after representing Ireland to U-21 level and it's sure to be on the agenda when Hodgson speaks in Dublin this evening.

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