Friday 6 December 2019

Manchester United target Jack Grealish: "Stephen Quinn called me a Fake Paddy"

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish

John Fallon

Republic of Ireland under-21 international Jack Grealish has claimed that senior international Stephen Quinn called him a "Fake Paddy" during a Premier League tie with the youngster yet to decide whether to declare for Ireland or not.

Grealish claimed that Ireland midfielder Stephen Quinn called him a 'Fake Paddy' during Villa's fixture against Hull last Sunday week.

"He called me a Fake Paddy," quipped Grealish about Quinn with a giggle. "That's what I have to expect though now. Football banter can be like that and I'm not a kid anymore so there's no problem."

The Birmingham-born winger is a member if Noel King's Under-21 squad but is being courted by both Ireland and England.

He may be in the same boat as Mark Noble in leaving Ireland manager Martin O'Neill waiting but that's where the similarities with the West Ham man cease.

Unlike Noble, Grealish didn't dispatch his agent to meet with O'Neill three weeks ago to outline his rationale for the stance he's taken, nor will he be represented by any outsider next week when negotiations with Villa manager Paul Lambert over a new contract crank up.

Family counts most to Grealish and, given his depth of his Irish lineage, that can only be a good thing for Ireland as the furore around one of the Premier League's hottest young talents abounds.

They were instrumental in advising him to shun England twice already to remain in the Ireland fold. Admittedly, the dilemma he finds himself in now carries much higher stakes than U-17 and U-19 level as a senior competitive cap ties him to that nation but the principle doesn't change.

He deliberated over those choices and, though he discovered on the Villa Park pitch last week that such an approach has the potential to rile Irishmen, Grealish intends to face this conundrum in the same fashion.

"Between appearing for Villa in the Premier League and the international situation, things have just happened very quickly for me in the past month," explained the teen.

"My contract at Villa runs out at the end of the season, so my concentration is on playing for the club and getting the negotiations on a new deal sorted out.

"Martin O'Neill appreciates from my meeting with him that I need to put my club future first before thinking about the international situation.

"My father and I wouldn't have liked to go to that meeting and hear Martin say, 'Come on and play for Ireland'. In fairness, he didn't put me under pressure to make a decision.

"He sat me down, treated me like a man and talked through everything.

"It wasn't just about football but growing up as a footballer and where my grandparents are from in Ireland.

"That's what I wanted to hear from Martin because it is a big decision to make and one I want to take my time over."

It's a position likely to make Grealish unavailable to O'Neill until next summer, at which point Ireland will be midway through their European Championship qualifying campaign. If it's any consolation, defection to England during the interim is a non-runner too.

Meanwhile, Grealish wants his contract situation resolved as Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur join in the pursuit of the teen.

Grealish, who turned 19 yesterday, is in the last season of his deal at Aston Villa and his growing status has attracted a gallery of suitors.

Preliminary talks with villa have resulted in a four-year deal being tabled.

"I've been a Villa season-ticket holder since I was four, so my wish is to stay at the club," said Grealish.

"Negotiations have started on a new contract and I'm hopeful it will get sorted.

"I just couldn't see myself playing for any club other than Villa but you never know what can happen in football."

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