The tug-of-war over Jack Grealish’s international future continues to rumble on this season with both England boss Roy Hodgson and Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill keen to make the talented youngster a part of their future plans. Although he was born in Solihull, Grealish opted to represent the Republic of Ireland at youth level and he has made six appearances for their under-21 side.
Jack Grealish is one of Aston Villa Football Club’s most exciting prospects and his performances towards the end of last season made many sit up and take notice of him. His performance against Liverpool at Wembley was brilliant, especially for such an inexperienced player, and he certainly has a bright future with Villa and whichever national side he chooses to represent at international level. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing either country: choosing the Republic of Ireland offers him the chance to win more international caps than with England but the lure of playing in more major tournaments may be too hard to resist.
Martin O’Neill has stated that he would like to use Grealish in the senior Ireland squad immediately whilst he may have to settle for a place in Gareth Southgate’s Under-21 squad for the time being if he chooses England. The England squad has much greater strength in depth in the attacking midfield role than the one Ireland and Grealish may struggle to make the squad ahead of the likes of Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana, Theo Walcott and Ross Barkley. Even players such as Andros Townsend or Wilfried Zaha may be ahead of him in the pecking order for next summer’s European Championships. However, if Grealish is able to flourish for Aston Villa this season, he may be able to force his way in and he would be a great option for Hodgson to have at his disposal.
If Grealish opts for Ireland, he may find it largely similar to playing for the claret and blues. Grealish could be a regular starter for both Villa and the Republic of Ireland by the end of the season, although he may find his opportunities to play in Europe and his chances to win silverware restricted because of the teams that he plays for since the likelihood of the Villans reaching the Champions League or the Republic of Ireland reaching major tournaments on a regular basis are both very slim.
Jack Grealish has a very bright future and he must be allowed to play without added pressure and without being under scrutiny in order to fulfil his true potential. If Jack Grealish can shine in a Villa shirt then he’ll feature regularly for either the Republic of Ireland or England and become a valuable asset for either country.