Kevin Kilbane reacts to Jack Grealish's international decision

Jack Grealish

The Aston Villa starlet has opted for England over the Republic of Ireland after months of deliberation.

Former Republic of Ireland international Kevin Kilbane has expressed his disappointment at Jack Grealish’s decision to play for England.

The Aston Villa starlet has represented Ireland at Under-17, 18 and 21 levels but resisted pressure to feature for their senior squad, instead asking for time to make a decision.

He opted for the Three Lions on Monday - as announced on Villa's official website - and Kilbane lamented Ireland’s loss on BBC Radio Five Live.

"It was a difficult decision for him - he's been nurtured by the FAI at youth levels," said the former Everton midfielder.

"I'm disappointed because he would have been a great addition to the squad… He decided himself that he wants to play for England and I respect him for it.”

Kilbane also thinks the 19-year old would have been a prominent member of the Ireland squad, while doubts remain over his ability to break into the England set-up.

"He would probably have been in the Ireland team now. Unfortunately it's not to be from Ireland's point of view,” added a man with 110 caps for Ireland.

"Hopefully for him he'll go on and have a successful career with England."

Attacking midfield isn’t exactly an area England are short in, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ross Barkley among those vying for places.

Grealish faces a tough task to force himself into the mix, but his decision to choose the country of his birth is an indication of his considerable self-belief.

The Villa man now needs to produce for his club and add consistent end product to his game if he is to make a splash on the international scene in the near future.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch