English Premiership

Roy urges Grealish to decide

2015-09-07 12:30
Jack Grealish (AFP)

Serravalle - England manager Roy Hodgson has urged Jack Grealish to make a decision about his international future.

The 19-year-old Aston Villa playmaker continues to hesitate between making the choice to represent England or Ireland.

Grealish shot to prominence towards the end of last season, starring in Villa's 2-1 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals, but has played only twice to date in this campaign due to a hamstring injury.

Born in Birmingham, he has three Irish grandparents and has played for Ireland at under-17, under-18 and under-21 level, but Hodgson is hopeful that he will opt to commit his future at senior level to England.

"I'm not 100 percent certain of what he is waiting for," Hodgson told reporters in Serravalle after England beat San Marino 6-0 on Saturday to qualify for next year's European Championship.

"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.

"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."

Grealish turned down a call-up from Ireland for their 0-0 friendly draw with England in June, while Hodgson revealed that he had not selected him for the Dublin fixture so as to avoid controversy.

But Hodgson has since spoken to Grealish and urged him to pick England.

"I made it clear to him: 'It's got to be your decision, it's got to be something you really want to do and that feels right,'" said Hodgson, whose side play Switzerland at Wembley on Tuesday.

"'I want you to play for England because you want to play for England.'"

However, while Hodgson would clearly like to have Grealish available for England's remaining qualifying matches against Estonia and Lithuania in October, he does not want to present him with an ultimatum.

"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," Hodgson added.

"That would be pleasant, but there is no time limit."

 

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