Monday 5 December 2016

'Jack Grealish could be called into both squads for Ireland versus England friendly'

Published 20/04/2015 | 16:18

Emre Can tackles Jack Grealish during the FA Cup Semi Final between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Wembley
Emre Can tackles Jack Grealish during the FA Cup Semi Final between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Wembley
Aston Villa's midfielder Jack Grealish celebrates Villa's second goal during the FA Cup semi-final between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Wembley

As Jack Grealish's stock continues to rise following his sensational FA Cup semi-final performance, sections of the English media are taking a keen interest in his international future.

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Grealish was instrumental for the 84 minutes he was on the pitch and had a hand in the two Aston Villa goals as Sherwood's side destroyed Steven Gerrard's "fairytale ending" with the Reds.

Manager Tim Sherwood was fulsome in his praise for the teenager and says he has the potential to be one of the very best in the Premier League.

"He could be right up there amongst the best of them," he said. "The ball is his friend. He likes to receive it he doesn't look at it, he knows where it is, he shifts it, he's got a turn of foot, takes a lot of knocks, but he can take it. He's a big lad."

The U-21 international is yet to play at senior level and Ireland manager Martin O'Neill suggested over the weekend that the crunch Scotland qualifier would come too soon for the Villa prodigy.

“The game (against Scotland) is too big, it’s massive,” said O’Neill, informed by Grealish last September of his intention to stall his international career, fuelling speculation of him defecting to England, the country of his birth.

Aston Villa's midfielder Jack Grealish celebrates Villa's second goal during the FA Cup semi-final between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Wembley
Aston Villa's midfielder Jack Grealish celebrates Villa's second goal during the FA Cup semi-final between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Wembley

“I’m not going to change my mind on my stance — well stance is too strong a word — but to throw him into a game like that would be tough. You’re talking about guys eight or nine years older will be nervous going into the Scotland game,” he added.

The English media is speculating that the delay in an international cap may open the door for Roy Hodgson and England.

The Telegraph today predicts a potential "international tug of war" and suggests Harry Kane's decision to snub Ireland could be a warning.

"Having thought they had managed to get Tottenham striker Harry Kane to commit his international future to Ireland a year ago when he was struggling to get into the Spurs side, O’Neill knows there is a danger they will lose Grealish following his rise to prominence at Villa."

With both countries set to battle it out at the Aviva in June in an international friendly, a most unusual scenario is suggested.

"Ireland play a friendly against England in Dublin in June before their vital European Championship qualifier against Scotland the following week and Grealish could well be called into the squad for both games."

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