Villa star Jack Grealish shouldn't be punished for his choices

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In a week that should have been filled with jubilation and congratulation for the heroic efforts of his Aston Villa team, Jack Grealish should be celebrated for his footballing ability and not condemned for his International 'loyalty'.

The versatile midfielder who can operate on either the left, right or in the centre in a no. 10 role has become the subject of an almost tug-of-war on the International stage as the nimble footed playmaker looks set to declare Internationally for Ireland, much to the disappointment of many England fans, and the disgust to a smaller minority.

19-year-old Grealish, born in Solihull, England, qualifies for the Republic of Ireland through his maternal and paternal grandmother and grandfather, born in County Kerry and Dublin respectively. Although not born in Ireland, Grealish has chosen to represent the country from the age of 14. 

However with his ability improving at astronomically rates, the Midlands born player has been pursued by England once again, as he has been in the past and the Three Lions are keen on recruiting the player who turned them down at the age of 15.

Grealish's ability to ghost past players and find pockets of space in behind the centre forwards has seen him become highly coveted at club and country level, with Chelsea part of the rumour mill allegedly pursuing his signature. 

However rather than enjoying the time that his club have reached their first FA Cup Final in over 15 years and the positive attention that comes with it, it's the naysayers that are holding the stellar talent back from making the most of what is surely a pivotal and crucial stage in his football development.

Up until this season, the midfielder has prominently been representing Ireland at an International level, having turned down England in the past it looked like they wouldn't come knocking again.

However in what has been a season where the player has enjoyed creative freedom and flourished under motivator to the stars Tim Sherwood, Grealish has developed into a key player in the Villa setup.


His almost supernatural ability to beat players has given Villa fans hope for the future, a hope that has been emulated by Ireland fans as the prospect of a creative midfielder is an almost forgotten, but mouth-watering one all the same.

In light of another talent being noticed by the England setup, it has drawn attention to the fact that Grealish is not born in Ireland. A fact that has drawn some condemning opinions and articles that the rules around English born players using Irish heritage to play for the Republic being abolished. 

Considering the fact that Grealish, like many before him, was allowed to slip through the net due to the over indulgence in English midfielders, it seems a contrary view to have, almost adopting an attitude of 'wanting what you can't have' by some in the press.

The backlash to all this is obvious. Trying to force a player out of a choice often frustrates and hinders their ability. Jack Grealish, who up until now, had never been fazed by his decision to play for the country where his namesake are from. 

It is important to remember that Jack Grealish is not the first to play for the 'England B Team' nor will he be the last. Trying to step in the way of this has had its consequences in the past.

It is clear now that a decision is to be made by Grealish as both the FAI and English FA look to bolster their squads for Euro 2016 and whatever that decision is, it must be respected. 

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