Sunday 23 October 2016

Jack Grealish's England call delayed by international clearance

Published 05/11/2015 | 02:30

Jack Grealish during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Swansea at Villa Park on October 24
Jack Grealish during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Swansea at Villa Park on October 24

England boss Roy Hodgson will be unable to consider Jack Grealish for selection until the New Year because of the slow process of formally transferring his allegiance from Ireland to the country of his birth.

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The English FA have to go through FIFA channels to make Grealish eligible for a call because he has represented Ireland competitively through the underage ranks.

It means he will not be named in Hodgson's squad to play Spain and France in this month's international window, although the Aston Villa youngster could still be invited to train with the group.

Former Villa boss Tim Sherwood blocked Grealish from doing so last month because he had only just returned from an injury.

A FIFA spokesman confirmed that the relevant papers from both associations had been submitted to allow Grealish switch to England, but the FAI will know from their own experience with James McClean, Ciaran Clark and others that the process is not a rapid one.

Meanwhile, Bosnia star Edin Dzeko ended his goal drought as Roma prevailed in a dramatic 3-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen, and his compatriot Miralem Pjanic scored the decisive penalty.


Dzeko was under pressure after eight scoreless games, but he struck just before the half hour mark as Roma opened up a two-goal lead that was pegged back after the period.

However, Pjanic emphatically converted from the spot with ten minutes remaining. The playmaker is in excellent form heading into next week's Euro 2016 play-off with Ireland.

Elsewhere, Cork City midfielder Gavan Holohan says that the Leesiders are perfectly happy with the role of underdogs heading into Sunday's FAI Cup showdown with Dundalk. The Louth men, who are chasing the double, are the favourites to lift the trophy.

"We're fine with it," says Holohan, "Dundalk won the league comprehensively and fair play to them but we know we can cause them problems. I don't think it will be as one-sided as some people think."

Holohan's season has not quite gone to plan after his impressive performances with Drogheda last term earned him a move south.

His future is uncertain and he is honest enough to admit that he is not even sure that he will be involved in the final. Still, a place on the bench would be an improvement on two years ago where he didn't even make the Drogheda squad for their loss to Sligo Rovers.

"I was the only one left out that day," says the talented midfielder, "I was told in the hotel on the Sunday morning that I was going to be left out. I'd only come in halfway through the season and played twice in the league so I was half expecting it."

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