Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney believes Aston Villa youngster Jack Grealish should opt for England over the Republic of Ireland Ireland ahead of the two nations' international encounter, The Sun reports.
The Villa starlet has progressed under the stewardship of new boss Tim Sherwood, impressing towards the end of the season and earning widespread praise.
Despite being born in England, Grealish has Irish grandparents and boss Martin O’Neill offered him an international call-up this summer – an invitation turned down but left open for future reference.
Speaking ahead of England’s encounter with Ireland, Rooney concedes he also turned down the chance to play for the ROI and reaffirmed his belief that players should represent their country of birth.
“When I was at Everton, Lee Carsley asked me but I’ve never thought about playing for Ireland. I was born in England, I’m English,” the United striker announced.
“I’m a firm believer you should play for the country you were born in but rules are rules. It’s down to him [Grealish] to make the decision, sooner rather than later.”
The 19-year-old winger represented Ireland at youth levels, most recently playing in an Under-21 international defeat to Germany last August.
His rise to prominence notably took place towards the end of the recently concluded season where he helped Villa stay up and assisted both goals in his side’s FA Cup semi-final victory over Liverpool.
The talent is there for him to make inroads on the international scene, but his decision will be vitally important as once included in a competitive fixture there is no going back.