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Jack's still the lad for King's Irish U21s

JACK Grealish will get at least one more outing in the green jersey as the Aston Villa prospect, who has been touted as a recruit to the English set-up, has been called into the Ireland U21 panel for a qualifier next month.

Grealish, 18, has been in the Ireland fold for some time and should won his sixth U21 cap in a Euro qualifier away to Germany on September 5th.

Martin O'Neill admitted this week that he had considered a senior call-up for the teenager but left him out as the player is reportedly considering his long-term options at international level, O'Neill going as far as holding a meeting with Grealish and his father.

But the fact that Grealish is in the squad for that German tie is a boost for U21 boss Noel King.

"We all know that Martin O'Neill spoke to Jack about his long term intentions. These are big decisions for any boy. He's happy to play for us at this time and we're happy to accommodate him," said King, whose side face group leaders Germany in Halle.

"He's always done very well for us and hopefully he'll realise his potential. Everybody knows his talent and he gets on very well with the rest of the lads in the group.

"Martin has already taken the likes of Shane Duffy, Robbie Brady and Jeff Hendrick who are still eligible for in his squad and that's part of the job with the U21s. If Jack is the next one to progress to the senior international team we'll be delighted for him.

With just eight points from seven games so far, Ireland are out of contention for qualification for the U21 finals and their game in Germany is the finals match of the group for Ireland.

So King has gone with a young group for the tie, as players like Sean Kavanagh (who made his debut for Fulham earlier this week), Jack Byrne, Sam Byrne and Conor Wilkinson could make their competitive U21 debuts.

There could also be an appearances against his native country for keeper Justin Merz, who is on the books of Karlsruhe but qualifies for Ireland via the parentage rule.

"We've gone with the squad for the next campaign," said King.


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