Sunday 11 December 2016

Last-minute U-turn sees Grealish opt out having agreed to join Ireland squad

SOCCER

Published 13/05/2015 | 02:30

A dramatic last-minute U-turn saw teenage sensation Jack Grealish withdraw from the Irish squad hours before its announcement by Martin O'Neill.

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The Irish Independent has learned that the 19-year-old Aston Villa player had agreed to be named in the squad for the June games with England and Scotland only to withdraw early yesterday.

It is believed that Grealish's father Kevin had made the agreement with O'Neill on Monday evening, only to have a change of heart yesterday.

Sources have claimed that the withdrawal followed a late intervention by Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood.

Read more: O'Neill's regrets will centre on lost opportunity of last summer

Sherwood, however, is not believed to have completely blocked the move, but had encouraged Grealish to consider his future carefully. Aston Villa were unavailable for comment.

The Birmingham-born teenager said last September that he was planning to take a year out of the international game to consider his options.

He has represented Ireland all the way up to U-21 level and recently indicated that he planned to return to the green jersey in September.

O'Neill said there was no pressure put on the youngster to stick around for the Scotland match if he reported for duty. A competitive appearance would tie him to Ireland for the remainder of his career. The Grealish drama overshadowed the announcement of the 33-man-panel for the June double-header which includes two uncapped players in Adam Rooney and Alan Judge.

Ireland Squad - Forde (Millwall); Given (Aston Villa); Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday); Randolph (Birmingham City); Keogh (Derby); Wilson (Stoke City); Coleman (Everton); Christie (Derby); O'Shea (Sunderland); Pearce (Reading); McShane (Hull City); McCarthy (Everton) Hendrick (Derby) Ward (Burnley); Arter (Bournemouth); Whelan (Stoke City); McGeady (Everton); McClean (Wigan Athletic); Judge (Brentford); Brady (Hull City); Pilkington (Cardiff City); Quinn (Hull City); Meyler (Hull City); Hoolahan (Norwich City); Keane (LA Galaxy); Long (Southampton); Murphy (Ipswich Town); Walters (Stoke City); Doyle (Colorado Rapids); Stokes (Celtic FC); McGoldrick (Ipswich Town); Rooney (Aberdeen); Cox (Reading).

Irish Independent

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