Tim Sherwood explains decision to keep Jack Grealish from England

The Aston Villa playmaker will be staying at Bodymoor Heath during the international break, despite an invitation to train with the Three Lions squad.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Stoke City at his pre-match press conference, Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has explained his decision to keep Jack Grealish from training with the England squad during the forthcoming international break.

After playing for the Republic of Ireland through Under-15 to Under-21 level, the highly-rated Grealish made headlines this week when he pledged his allegiances to England following a drawn out tug-of-war between the two countries over his services.

England boss Roy Hodgson subsequently revealed, that while the Solihull-native is unable to play for the Three Lions until he received international clearance, he had been invited to train with his squad at St. George’s Park in the meantime.

However, Sherwood wanted the 20-year-old playmaker to stay at Villa instead, explaining that he still needs to work on his match fitness after missing the entire pre-season with a hamstring problem.

"Jack missed the whole of pre-season,” he said. “During the last international break, when we wanted to get some training into him, he was injured again so we'll use this opportunity now.

“If he was called up now he’d be going but he wasn’t. Roy asked me if he could just invite him there to introduce him to the boys and get a feel for St. George’s Park but I thought it was better for him to stay here and get fit for the rest of the season.

“He won’t be alone – there’ll be a few of the boys here doing exactly the same.”

After bursting onto the Premier League scene during last season’s run-in, Grealish has again shown flashes of brilliance in his six appearances so far this term and even scored his first goal for Villa in last month’s 3-2 defeat at Leicester.

The skilful youngster certainly looks to have an extremely bright club future ahead of him but Sherwood is reluctant to predict whether he will prove a hit at the international level now he has committed to Hodgson’s side over continuing with Ireland.

“I said all along it was the boy and his family’s decision,” he added. “I haven’t studied the players in Jack’s position who are Irish so I wouldn’t like to compare Ireland and England, but Jack's made the decision because he feels it's the country of his birth and he’s English.

"He's not playing for England unless he's playing well for Villa. That's how it works for every player."

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