Wednesday 17 January 2018

Eamon Dunphy: I can't see Jack Grealish playing for Ireland after this sorry affair

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Pundit Eamon Dunphy believes teenager Jack Grealish has been poorly treated by Ireland and is unlikely to pull on the green jersey at senior level.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill admitted he was left "disappointed" by Grealish's decision to turn down a place in the senior squad for the upcoming international friendly with England as he has yet to decide on his international future.

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. Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood is also believed to have played a part in the snub, reportedly encouraging the teenager to consider his future carefully.

Grealish Snr insists their vow of parking international football until September wasn’t in jeopardy by the Ireland boss dangling the tempting offer of senior action on June 7, but outspoken pundit Dunphy says that he cannot see the gifted midfielder pledging his allegiance to Ireland given how the drama has unfolded.

"I think of all of that makes it less likely that he would feel comfortable playing here," he told RTE Radio One's Morning Ireland programme.

"The idea has been put around that Grealish and his father are keeping their options open to play for England. Well they are entitled to do that.

"If I had a young 19-year-old son, I'd be very keenly involved and anxious to protect him and make sure he makes the right decision."

Read more: Vincent Hogan: Time for Grealish to decide on nationality, not a consolation prize

Asked whether he can see the rising Villa star pulling on a green jersey at senior level – he has six caps at both U-18 and U-21 level – the journalist was highly sceptical.

"I don't think I can after this affair," he admitted.

"He is a promising, good young player. He played underage football for Ireland, he accepted the Young Player of the Year award when he was in Dublin, but this won't help matters."

"I feel sorry for the young player and I don't think the way we have behaved has helped our cause."

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