Hodgson boost as Grealish opts for Three Lions

Ross McLean
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ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson’s attacking options have been swelled less than a year before the European Championships following the decision of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish to pledge his international future to the Three Lions.

The 20-year-old also qualified for the Republic of Ireland through his grandparents and played for their under-21 side, but turned down a call-up to the senior squad for a friendly against England in June as he pondered his long-term future.

“It was not an easy decision as Ireland has a special place with me through my family,” said Grealish. “But I have decided to represent the country of my birth.”

Birmingham-born Grealish, who made his first Villa appearance against Manchester City in May 2014, had been the subject of a tug of war between Hodgson and Republic counterpart Martin O’Neill.

Grealish could now be selected for England’s Euro 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania next month, while Hodgson, whose side have already reached the finals, has hinted he may use the remaining group matches to experiment.

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