Martin Keown backs Aston Villa star Jack Grealish's England decision

Jack Grealish

The young midfielder decided to play for England this week.

Jack Grealish announced this week, after months of speculation, that he had chosen to represent England at international level and not the Republic of Ireland.

The talented Aston Villa midfielder has previously played for Ireland at youth level as his family is from there but he was born in Solihull and decided he wanted to play for England.

One man who understands his decision and was in a similar situation growing up is Arsenal legend Martin Keown.

Keown played 43 times for England but was once approached by Jack Charlton to play for Ireland. Indeed his son Niall, who is currently at Reading, has been called up to recent Republic of Ireland U-21 camps.

But Keown believes that if Grealish feels English then he has made the right choice.

He wrote in the Daily Mail today:

"I think if it becomes a really tough decision, playing for your country of birth may be the right thing to do. But people of certain nationalities stay very loyal to the country of their parents, and it takes two, three or four generations until they feel like they belong.

"It seems Grealish sees himself as English, whether that's the right professional decision remains to be seen. He's a great talent, but I'm not sure where he's going to feature. You have to admire his decision though – it's not an easy one to make.

"I would hope that if he is selected for England it is on merit, rather than as part of a tactical decision to get him away from the Ireland squad. If he deserves to be in, pick him. If not, don't. No one should be denied the chance to play international football because a manager has no intention of using them."

Grealish’s decision has been met by rumours of the potential financial rewards of choosing England but that seems a touch unfair on the lad. It appears he is happy to represent England, the country he was born and raised in and if that is the case good luck to him in his endeavours.

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