Photo: Jack Grealish celebrates on Twitter after winning prestigious international award

Jack Grealish

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish has been recognised as Ireland's Under-21 Player of the Year.

Aston Villa starlet Jack Grealish has been named the Republic of Ireland Under-21's Player of the Year - but has still yet to pledge his long-term future to Martin O'Neill's men.

19-year-old Grealish was one of three nominees up for the award, and beat off competition from Watford defender Tommie Hoban and Manchester City goalkeeper Ian Lawlor to win the award, and celebrated with a photo on Twitter.

The award is another sign that Villa have a potential star on their hands, and manager Tim Sherwood will no doubt be keen to give him more first-team opportunities before the end of the season.

Last season's loan spell at Notts County was productive for Grealish, but now he has his sights set higher than that, and should be pushing for the Villa first-team in the near future.

Whilst his club future is fairly settled, his international future is far from it. Born in Birmingham - and therefore a lifelong Villa fan - Grealish is able to play for both England and Ireland, qualifying for the latter through his father.

So far, Grealish has represented the Republic of Ireland at Under-17, Under-18 and now Under-21 level, and whilst he's recently refused call-ups to concentrate on his club football, Grealish told RTE after winning the award that he would be returning to the setup soon.

"I spoke to Noel [King, Under-21 manager] at the start of the year and I said I was going to take a year out of international football this year and try and concentrate on my club football," said Grealish. "I’ve had a good year at Villa and then hopefully next year I’ll be back playing again for Ireland."

Until Grealish is capped in a competitive game at senior level, he will be able to switch allegiances and play for England - even after winning this award.

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