Sunday 4 December 2016

Tim Sherwood: I've spoken to Martin O'Neill, Roy Hodgson and Jack Grealish but it's their fight

Published 10/09/2015 | 12:56

Aston Villa star Jack Grealish
Aston Villa star Jack Grealish

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has said that he hasn't heard if Jack Grealish has made a decision on his international allegiance amid reports that he is about to snub the Republic of Ireland for England.

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The 20-year-old took to Instagram today to wish himself a happy birthday but didn't refer to reports in the British media that he had decided to choose Roy Hodgson's men over Martin O'Neill's side.

Grealish, who played for the Republic at U17, U18 and U21 level, has delayed his decision on choosing his international allegiance at senior level.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill this week hinted at frustration at what he regarded as Roy Hodgson putting pressure on Grealish to make a decision and Sherwood is keen not to further fan the flames.

Asked whether he knew anything about the reports, Sherwood said: "I've spoken to Roy Hodgson, I've spoken to Martin O'Neill, I've spoken to Jack Grealish and his father and I've said that it is not my decision to make.

"It's up to them three to fight it out and keep me out of it.

"In his heart of hearts, is he English or Irish? He's got to make decision based on what his heart tells him.

"I had a similar situation with Nabil Bentaleb as he could have played for Algeria or France and he told me 'My blood's Algerian, I feel Algerian, I am going to play for them'. That's how he made his decision, perhaps Jack will feel the same." 

Sherwood is hopeful Grealish will be fit for this weekend's game with Leicester after an ankle problem but Jores Okore (knee) is out and Liverpool loanee Tiago Ilori is not match fit but Joleon Lescott could make his debut after signing from West Brom.

Villa midfielder Idrissa Gueye is in a race against time to face Leicester.

The 25-year-old suffered a hamstring injury during Senegal's 2-0 African Cup of Nations qualifier win over Namibia.

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