English Premiership

Hard work ahead for Grealish

2015-10-02 11:52
Jack Grealish (AFP)

London - Roy Hodgson has told Jack Grealish he won't guarantee him an England place despite the Aston Villa midfielder's decision to snub the Republic of Ireland.

Grealish represented Ireland at Under-17 level as he qualified through his grandparents but his impressive form for Villa has seen him touted as a future England international.

The 20-year-old Englishman turned down a senior call-up with Ireland for their friendly against Hodgson's side in June and pledged his allegiance to the country of his birth earlier this week.

He is unavailable for the forthcoming European Championship qualification double-header against Estonia and Lithuania and, despite England having already qualified for next year's tournament, Hodgson will not make special allowances to fast-track Grealish into his squad.

"I'm very pleased," Hodgson said. "I think it is the right decision, frankly he is English having met him and his father, it is an English family albeit with fairly distant Irish roots.

"I think he has got the talent to be an England player, he has a lot of work today before that day is concreted - but I was happy that in a choice between the two countries he took the bolder decision to try and be an England international.

"I was keen to point out to him and his father that there are no guarantees from my point of view - one thing I can categorically say is that the only way he will get into the England squad is if he is one of the best 23.

"We can't offer him any sweeteners or bonuses because you have made a decision to play for England."

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