Villa starlet Grealish rejects O’Neill advances

Ross McLean
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TEENAGE Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has kept alive his chances of England recognition by rejecting a first senior call-up from the Republic of Ireland.

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has been thrust into the Villa first-team picture since the appointment of manager Tim Sherwood, and produced a prominent display in the FA Cup semi-final victory over Liverpool at Wembley last month.

Grealish, who has already represented Ireland’s Under-21 side, declined an invitation to join Martin O’Neill’s squad to prepare for next month’s friendly with England in Dublin on 7 June and the Euro 2016 qualifying match against Scotland six days later.

“Jack didn’t want to make up his mind at this stage,” said O’Neill, who has named an extended 33-man squad for the two games, which will follow a behind-closed-doors clash with Northern Ireland on 4 June.

“He didn’t want to make a decision now. I’m sure that he could [choose Ireland] in the future. I would have liked to have had him training with us for the week ahead of the England game. That’s a disappointing aspect.”