Wednesday 21 August 2019

Jack Grealish will have to wait until 2016 for FIFA clearance to begin England career

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish

Paul Hirst

Jack Grealish will have to wait until the new year before he is considered for his first England cap after FIFA confirmed the Aston Villa midfielder has still not been cleared to play for the Three Lions.

Grealish represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level, but decided to switch his allegiance to England, the country of his birth, five weeks ago.

The Aston Villa midfielder and the Football Association submitted the relevant documents to FIFA at the end of September, but world football's governing body confirmed on Wednesday that clearance had still not been granted.

A FIFA spokesperson said: "We can confirm having been contacted by the Football Association with a request for change of association of the player Jack Grealish.

"The matter is pending and being investigated by our services and as a result, we are not in a position to comment on it any further nor to give an estimation as to the relevant time line."

With Grealish ineligible to play, it is expected he will be left out of Roy Hodgson's squad for the upcoming matches against Spain and France when it is announced on Thursday at 2pm.

Whether Hodgson invites Grealish to fly to Alicante in order to get some experience of being around the squad next week remains to be seen.

The former Fulham manager asked the 20-year-old to come to St George's Park to get to know the England set-up during the last international get together, but the move was blocked by Tim Sherwood, who has now been replaced by Remi Garde as Aston Villa boss.

Although Grealish's performances have not hit the same levels as they did towards the end of last season, it is plausible to believe he could have made the cut for the two friendlies.

The small pool of players available to Hodgson has shrunk even further since the victories over Lithuania and Estonia last month due to injuries.

Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are unavailable after suffering calf and hamstring injuries in Arsenal's 3-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday while Phil Jagielka is out until Christmas with knee ligament damage.

Daniel Sturridge continues to struggle for fitness following his long-term injury troubles and his Liverpool team-mate Danny Ings is out for the rest of the season after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament during training.

Other high-profile absentees include Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, Luke Shaw and Jordan Henderson. In total, 13 regular squad members are out.

The good news for Hodgson is that Fabian Delph returned from a hamstring injury to make a substitute appearance for Manchester City in their 3-1 win over Sevilla on Tuesday. The 25-year-old midfielder missed the October internationals with the injury.

Another midfielder plagued by fitness problems, Michael Carrick, could come into contention after an injury-free period for Manchester United.

West Ham striker Andy Carroll, meanwhile, is targeting a return to the England set-up over three years after his last cap.

"That (England) is obviously at the back of my head," Carroll told Sky Sports News.

"I am concentrating on being fit and scoring goals for West Ham. That will be the only thing that will lead us there."

England will play Spain at the Estadio Jose Rico Perez a week on Friday before hosting France at Wembley four days later.

The Three Lions won all 10 of their Euro 2016 qualifiers, but the forthcoming friendlies against two of Europe's top nations will give Hodgson a chance to see if his team are serious contenders for next summer's tournament in France.

Online Editors

The Left Wing: The 'hell' of World Cup training camp, Ireland's half-back dilemma and All Blacks uncertainty

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport