Friday 30 September 2016

Jack Grealish ready to choose England over Ireland after Roy Hodgson intervention

Sam Wallace

Published 10/09/2015 | 02:30

Could this be a sight never to be seen again? Jack Grealish in a green jersey
playing for the Ireland U-21s. According to reports across the Irish Sea,
the Aston Villa midfielder is set to declare for his native England
Could this be a sight never to be seen again? Jack Grealish in a green jersey playing for the Ireland U-21s. According to reports across the Irish Sea, the Aston Villa midfielder is set to declare for his native England

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish is preparing to snub Ireland and choose England as his senior international side before the final round of Euro 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania next month.

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Grealish, who played for Ireland all the way up from U-17 to U-21 level, is currently injured and that has delayed him making a final decision on his international allegiance.

With Ireland facing crucial games against Germany and Poland, there is a possibility that Grealish, who turns 20 today, will be selected by Martin O'Neill, which would force the issue.

Earlier this week, the Ireland manager hinted at frustration at what he regarded as Roy Hodgson putting pressure on Grealish to make a decision.

In reality, the English boss was only responding to a question about the Grealish situation in the aftermath of the 6-0 win over San Marino on Saturday evening.

Hodgson has always rated the player but believes that it should not be a case of the English Football Association having to convince dual-nationality players to choose England.

There is a chance that Grealish could yet force his way into the England Euro 2016 squad, although Hodgson has said that he does not see his final 23 for France coming from outside the players he has already selected during the qualifying campaign.

He said after Tuesday's win over Switzerland that the next eight months would not be a period of "experimentation".

Hodgson also emphasised that he would not be willing to meet with Grealish's agent to discuss his future - a contrast from O'Neill who met the player along with his father and a representative of the Stellar Group, although the Ireland manager stressed after Monday's win over Georgia that he expects the final decision to come from the family.

"I felt at the meeting I had that it was a decision that both Jack and his father would take," he said.

O'Neill looked to speak with the sought-after player in the aftermath of the summer storm when Grealish refused a call to link up with the Irish squad for the friendly with England.

Options

The Ireland manager initially believed that the youngster was ready to accept the call-up but, after mulling over his options, Grealish confirmed that he would wait until this month to make a final call

Ireland fans were given an insight into the mindset of Grealish's representatives after Jonathan Barnett, the founder of Stellar, revealed that he had tried to persuade his highest-profile client Gareth Bale to declare for England because of the financial incentives.

"When we first got together when he was 15, we talked about whether he was going to play for England or Wales. I nearly got my head bitten off by his dad, who is fanatically Welsh, and his mum.

"He could have qualified through his grandmother and I tell you that it has cost him millions and millions of pounds. You can imagine what it would have been like if he were playing for England next summer in the Euros.but he does love playing for Wales." (© Independent News Service)

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