Former Aston Villa striker Tony Cascarino has slammed the club's 'keeper Shay Given over comments he made about his Irishness.
Given was questioned in the run-up to the FA Cup final about the situation with Jack Grealish, the Aston Villa teenager who is yet to decide whether to play for the Republic of Ireland or England.
The Republic of Ireland international had played up Grealish’s Irish connection, saying: “He has an affiliation with the country, it’s not like Cascarino or something”.
Tony Cascarino, who made over 80 appearances for the Republic of Ireland was born in Kent, England.
This prompted an angry response from Cascarino who used his Sun column to put the record straight.
“I played with Shay Given for Ireland for three and a half years. He never once questioned my Irishness then, so I am surprised he’s done so now.
“I strongly resent Shay’s suggestion that I had no affiliation for Ireland.
“Because I have an Italian surname, I think I am an easy target when people discuss players born outside Ireland who played for the team – but I would expect more from Shay.”
Grealish faces a tough choice over his international football and could come in for criticism whichever way he chooses to turn.
There are similarities to the case of Cascarino. Grealish was born in Solihull, England, and spent his youth career at Villa, so he may feel he has every right to turn down the advances of Martin O'Neill or Roy Keane.
"I am one for tackling things head on, so when we next bump into each other, I will have it out with him,” Cascarino added.
“He should check his facts, because I was not only proud to play for Ireland, but qualified to do so.
“I take it quite personally when people call that into question.”