Monday 22 May 2017

Ian Rush: Best thing Martin O'Neill can do is forget about Jack Grealish

5 March 2014 - Jack Grealish, pictured here playing for the Republic of Ireland during the UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, against Montenegro (Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE)
5 March 2014 - Jack Grealish, pictured here playing for the Republic of Ireland during the UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier, against Montenegro (Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE)

Ian Rush

Move on - That's my advice.

Forget about Jack Grealish. The ball has been placed in his court and it is his choice to decide what to do with it.

Martin O'Neill can do no more, other than wish him well.

He has asked him into the squad, not just once, but twice.

And I don't agree with Eamon Dunphy's assertion that he hasn't handled this situation well.

The kid was in the U-21s. O'Neill didn't feel he was ready. So he waited until he was ready.

And he called. That is what managers do. When the player is right, they call. They don't call too early because that could ruin the player. They think about their timing.

And Jack has kicked the issue to touch, to September at least.

So let it go. If he wants time, give him time. But don't dwell on the matter. Don't look back in anger. Don't curse him. Move on and deal with the players who are available.

It will be interesting to see if Grealish waits until September if England calls. That will be the key moment.

But as someone who has watched football for a very long time, I am in absolutely no doubt that Jack Grealish's future would be better served with Ireland.

He will play more games for you than for England. He will play them earlier, too. With England, he may get capped once and be forgotten about.

Really, he should give O'Neill a call and come on board. Whether he will or not, I'm not so sure. But if he does jump ship then wish him well and forget about him. Other players - possibly less talented ones - are around. International football is about pride as well as performance, remember.

Having said all that, if Grealish does decide at the start of next season that he wants to play for Ireland again, well that is a different scenario.

He is a young man, remember. This is a big decision in his career and the fact he has said no on a couple of occasions should not be held as a grudge against him.

The vitriolic sentiments posted to him on social media will serve no beneficial purpose, either.

So we shouldn't criticise the kid. But nor should we roll the red carpet out. Plenty of people would love to wear that green shirt.

They are the ones you should look at.

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