Friday 21 October 2016

Paul McGrath: I would have opted for Ireland if I was Jack Grealish

Published 29/09/2015 | 15:00

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish could be in hot water with his club Aston Villa

Ireland and Aston Villa legend Paul McGrath believes Jack Grealish has made a mistake by choosing to play with England over the Republic of Ireland.

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After months of speculation, Grealish committed his international career to England on Monday.

Despite being born in Solihull, Grealish opted to play for the Republic of Ireland at youth level. He was eligible to play for the Republic through his grandparents.

But the 20-year-old then switched his allegiance back to England after manager Roy Hodgson made it clear he was interested in calling the player up for the senior side earlier this year.

Grealish will not be selected for England's upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania next month, however.

It is understood that the Football Association expects Grealish's international clearance will not be granted for four to six weeks.

That means he will not be included in the squad for the next two qualifiers - which is named on Thursday - but could feature in the friendlies against Spain and France in November.

Speaking on The Nicky Byrne Show on 2FM, Paul McGrath believes Ireland would have been a wiser choice for the playmaker.

"I think Jack's a very young man, it was a huge decision. I would have opted for Ireland if I was him," he said.

"His chances of getting a regular spot with the England team would be a little more limited and we could do with him at the moment as well.

"They'll play him in a couple of games and then he may find that he's been shut out.

"England is going to be a lot more competitive because of the pool of players he has to pick from.

"He has the right to choose whoever he wants to play for but it's disappointing.

"He still has a lot to prove, he has shown he has great ability. He'd have got more regular international football with us."

McGrath does not believe that money was any kind of a motivation in the decision and was adamant that there was nothing Martin O'Neill could have done to persuade Grealish to reconsider his choice.

"I don't think they could have. At the end of the day, it's up to the player and his family," he added.

"I believe he thinks he's good enough to get a regular place with England.

"You can only wish him well."

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