"It's disappointing" - Aston Villa legend Paul McGrath gives verdict on Jack Grealish's decision

Jack Grealish

Paul McGrath admits he is disappointed with Jack Grealish's decision to choose England over Ireland.

Former Aston Villa hero Paul McGrath has told RTE in Ireland that he is disappointed to see Jack Grealish choose England over Ireland.

Grealish, 20, has emerged through the ranks at Villa Park, and now plays an integral role in the first team under Tim Sherwood, having impressed with his ability to go past defenders with ease.

Tipped for a bright future at club level, there has been plenty of confusion over his international allegiance. Despite being born in Solihull, Grealish has played for the Republic of Ireland at youth level, and many had expected him to stick with Martin O'Neill's men as a senior.

Now though, the playmaker has turned his back on Ireland, choosing to play for the country of his birth instead, meaning he is now eligible to play for England at either Under-21 or senior level.

The decision has excited many England fans, who have seen what Grealish can do during his time in the Villa side, but it's fair to say that it hasn't gone down quite so well in Ireland.

Villa legend Paul McGrath, who racked up 83 caps for Ireland despite being born in England too, told RTE that whilst he understands Grealish's decision, he's still disappointed to see the midfielder choose the Three Lions.

"Jack's a very young man," said McGrath. "He's had a huge decision to make. But I would have opted for Ireland if I was him because I think his chances of getting a regular spot with the England team would be a little more limited. That's what they could do. Play him in a couple of games and then he finds that he's shut out a little bit."

"Talented player though he is, at the age he is, he still has a lot to prove. Aston Villa haven't been winning games but he's been playing really well and has shown that he has great ability. He would have got more regular international football with Ireland and it would have been great if he had picked us. It's disappointing but he's only a young kid and he has every right to choose who he wants to play for," he added.

It seems more likely that Grealish will move in to the England Under-21 setup immediately rather than the senior squad, but given his huge potential, he could well be a star of the future for England - and Ireland will certainly feel that they have missed out here.

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