Jack Grealish at centre of England v Ireland battle

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Aston Villa's talented midfielder Jack Grealish is locked in the centre of a battle between England and Ireland, both of whom are keen for him to represent them at senior international level.

The 19-year-old, who currently represents the Republic of Ireland at U21 level, holds dual nationality through his father, and agent, Kevin, who was born in Dublin.

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Enticing offer

Republic of Ireland are so desperate to get the youngster to commit to them, that the head of Irish airline company Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, has offered Grealish and his family free flights if the Villa man chooses to play for the Irish.

However, he has already declined one approach by manager Martin O'Neill to play for the senior team.

Next big thing?

The teenager has already been likened to Gareth Bale at a similar age and is keen to hold out for an England call-up.

He is aware that England manager Roy Hodgson is an admirer and he has been watched several times, but it all depends how long he can wait before he decides he wants to make the next step up to international football.

But ambitious Grealish knows that he must keep working hard for Aston Villa, before expecting an England call-up anytime soon.

He has not yet established himself as a first-team regular for the midlands club, but at 19, he still has plenty of time to force his way into the starting XI. 

Looking to the future

Since Paul Lambert arrived at Villa Park, he has always tried to integrate young, English talent into his team and that gamble has paid off, with Villa making a very solid start to the season, including a 1-0 defeat of Liverpool at Anfield.

So it could only be a matter of time before Grealish is a regular starter for his side.

No matter what his decision though, you can rest assured O'Leary will do his utmost to persuade Jack and his family to play for the Irish, and his offer to dad Kevin, may well have swayed it in Ireland's favour. For now anyway.

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Aston Villa
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