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Lambert: Jack Grealish has a big international decision to make


Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish

Getty Images

Jack Grealish

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert insists he will leave Jack Grealish alone to decide his own international future.

The midfield starlet has been named in the Republic of Ireland's latest under-21 squad for their final UEFA qualifier in Germany next week, although he is not expected to join the squad while his future remains undecided.

The Birmingham-born 18-year-old, who is set to start in Villa's Capital One Cup clash at home to Leyton Orient on Wednesday, is still eligible to play for England and is considering his options.

Ireland legend Roy Keane is Lambert's assistant at Villa Park and the former Manchester United midfielder is expected to try to persuade Grealish to stay with the national team, but Lambert says he will not pressurise Grealish as he plans to hand him his full Villa debut.

He said: "If he was Scottish I'd make sure to get him up (the) road to Scotland. I don't make rules or get involved so I'll leave it up to the lad himself, whatever he chooses I'll back it. He has to try to hang on to my squad in the first team.

"It's up to Jack what to do and to decide what country. He's done okay but has miles to go in the game.

"It is a great problem for him to have. I could be sitting here talking to you and saying I am releasing him. So I would rather have this kind of problem.

"It will be a long road to be a right top player, but at this minute in time he is doing alright."

Grealish came off the bench in Villa's opening day win at Stoke but was denied a second appearance this season after Aly Cissokho suffered an ankle injury during Saturday's 0-0 draw with Newcastle.

He spent the majority of last season on loan at Notts County and Lambert believes that has helped him mature.

He added: "I was going to put him on on Saturday then Aly got hurt - but I don't have a problem throwing him in.

"He's grown up in League One. That's a big thing, he's grown up in a man's environment."

Online Editors