England still hopeful over Villa star Jack Grealish, says Southgate

Jack Grealish

England Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate has confirmed that they are still trying to prise Jack Grealish away from Ireland.

The 19-year-old's international future has been the subject of much speculation since he broke onto the Premier League scene with Villa this season. Grealish has made substitute appearances in four of the Midland club's seven fixtures so far this season.

The Villa winger is eligible to play for both Ireland and England at international level, and has already represented Ireland at u17, u18 and u21 level.

Despite this, Southgate is not losing hope that England will be able to convince him to switch allegiances.

The Middlesborough legend told the Birmingham Mail: "Jack is somebody we have spoken to over the years, him and his family. He has been in our younger development teams. The family and Jack are aware of our interest.

“Up to this point they have preferred to remain with Ireland. These things are quite fluid at younger ages, it happened with Michael Keane and his brother and Jonathan Bond came from Wales.

“Lots of other home nations are running development camps at a young age so players develop an allegiance quite young.

"You are allowed to switch once you are a young player and Jack is someone we are monitoring and we’ll keep our eye on that situation.”

It will surely be a tough decision to make for the youngster. On one hand, he could chose Ireland and get into the senior squad instantly; on the other hand, he could chose England and bide his time in the youth teams and potentially never reach the level required to play in the senior squad.

You would also have to argue that with England he will have a much better chance of playing in major international competitions.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch