Thursday 18 January 2018

Roy Hodgson tells Jack Grealish to make up his international mind

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish
Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

England manager Roy Hodgson has told Jack Grealish to end the debate over his international future and declare whether he will play for the Republic of Ireland or England.

Grealish has been stalling on whether he commit his future to the Irish or English cause for the last couple of years, with his rise to prominence in the Aston Villa first team fuelling the debate over his decision.

Yet Hodgson is confused that the 19-year-old is still uncertain on who he wants to play for, with a spot in England's Euro 2016 finals squad within reach if he declares his intentions shortly.

“I’m not 100 per cent certain of what he is waiting for," stated Hodgson.

"As far as I am concerned, I would like him to come out and say: ‘I’ve thought about it, I’ve got the two possibilities and I’m opting for England’ and then of course he will be available for selection.

"We’ve spoken to him and what we’ve said, quite simply, is that we think he is a very talented footballer. We think he could have a very good international career and we would be more than happy if he chose that career to be England.

“But he has been injured, to be fair, so he wouldn’t have been selectable for any team — England, Ireland, at whatever level — during these September fixtures. Now, maybe, before the October fixtures he might make that decision.

"He’s 19 years of age. It would be nice if he says yes and then he would have a year to see if he could knock one or two of these players off their perch. That would be pleasant, but there is no time limit.

“At 19, it is important he gives it the right amount of thought because he has a lot of time ahead of him for playing international football. At 19, he needs to be certain he makes the right decision.”

Grealish has represented the Republic of Ireland at junior levels, but he has declined offers from boss Martin O'Neill to receive a call-up to his senior squad.

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