Martin O’Neill takes issue with Roy Hodgson’s pursuit of Aston Villa star Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish

The Villans starlet is at the centre of a tug of war for his international services.

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has accused England manager Roy Hodgson of pressuring Aston Villa starlet Jack Grealish into making a decision on his international future.

The talented forward qualifies to play for both Ireland and England and has yet to decide on his path.

Hodgson was quoted yesterday by the Telegraph as saying:

“I’m not 100 per cent certain of what he is waiting for… Did I expect it earlier? I don’t know… As far as I am concerned, I would like him to come out and say: ‘I’ve thought about it, I’ve got the two possibilities and I’m opting for England’ and then, of course, he will be available for selection.”

But those words haven’t gone down too well with O’Neill, who today responded saracastically - also in the Telegraph – with:

“That’s encouraging, that’s encouraging. Roy’s not going to hang around. Well done Roy, putting the pressure on.”

It’s an outburst which is sure to add more intrigue to an already intense debate. The Villa man was born in Birmingham but qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandparents and has so far represented them at Under-17, 18 and 21 levels.

He did however, decline an invitation to join up with the senior squad while he continues to deliberate over his future.

More decisiveness on the part of Grealish could have seen him involved in next year’s European Championships with either side.

England secured their place in France with a victory over San Marino on Saturday, while Ireland are still in with a shout of automatic qualification in Group D.

The wealth of attacking options available to Roy Hodgson means Euro 2016 would likely come too soon for Grealish to establish himself in the England squad.

It’s a different story for the Republic of Ireland however, and the influence of Grealish could be just what’s needed to push them through qualification and beyond.

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