"Jack Grealish must decide whether he is Irish or English" - Tim Sherwood
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has has admitted he didn't know Jack Grealish represented Ireland at underage level and says he must decide whether he is Irish or English.
Grealish has represented Ireland from U-15 to U-21 level but England are trying to lure him back to the land of his birth following his brilliant performance in Villa's FA Cup semi-final win over Liverpool last Sunday.
“Before I came in here in didn’t even know that he represented Ireland, but we have been talking about it for months now and it doesn’t seem to be distracting him. I don’t think there is a hurry he needs to decide it in his own time,” said Sherwood.
“It’s not a decision that he is going to make between now and the end of the season. I’m not sure that it is a money decision that he needs to make. He needs to make a career decision for himself and where he feels he belongs - blood is thicker than water."
"He needs to decide is he Irish or is he English, and if he is having to answer that then he is doing something right for Aston Villa and that’s all I’m interested in.
"But its Jack’s decision, and it is always going to be Jack’s decision, and I’m sure whatever decision he makes it will be the correct one."
Meanwhile Sherwood has warned Grealish about his future behaviour after the teenage midfielder was pictured in a national newspaper allegedly taking nitrous oxide.
Year-old images published by The Sun appeared to show Grealish taking the substance that is described as a legal 'high'.
"I spoke to Jack first thing this morning," Sherwood was quoted as saying by the BBC on Thursday. "I explained to him his behaviour can't be tolerated.
"He is now in a responsible position as a professional footballer. He's got to make sure it won't happen again, he's assured me it won't.
"I'm not worried. There is only one form of discipline, that's self-discipline, that's what really matters," said Sherwood.
"Jack has to take that on board now. This is an eye-opener for him, he has to realise he has to be very careful who he can trust out there."
Liverpool's Raheem Sterling was at the centre of similar allegations earlier this month when The Sun's website apparently showed the England forward taking nitrous oxide.
Meanwhile, Ciaran Clark (knee) Nathan Baker (knee) and Alan Hutton (ankle) are out for the trip to the Etihad but Gabriel Agbonlahor could recover from his hamstring injury and Aly Cissokho (groin) and Philippe Senderos (thigh) are in contention.