Jack Grealish is once again involved in the Anglo-Irish selection tug-o-war as Roy Hodgson publicly revealed his intentions to get the Birmingham-born midfielder on board for England, despite Martin O'Neill's hopes that he'll maintain the tradition of representing Ireland.
Grealish, born to English parents with Irish grandparents, had flown under the FA's radar for his grassroots years perfectly suiting the Irish FA who had nurtured the Aston Villa midfielder's talents.
A string of impressive displays over the past two campaigns and England's unruly need for another attack-minded midfielder have changed the complexion of Grealish's international career and Hodgson's teasing words have given the 19-year-old a big decision to make on his future.
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As reported in the Guardian, and speaking after England's demolition of minnows San Marino on Saturday, Hodgson was drawn on the question of the youngster's future for England and was more than coercive in his words.
He said: “We've spoken to him and what we've said, quite simply, is that we think he is a very talented footballer.”
Not mincing his words, Hodgson is looking to sew up a long standing issue that has been running since the tail end of the 2014/15 campaign, and after Grealish rather maturely took a sabbatical from international football to think over his options, it appears the England boss is running out of patience and is desperate to get his man.
“We think he could have a very good international career and we would be more than happy if he chose that career to be England."
The revelation was made prior to Grealish's other international interest, the Republic of Ireland, defeating Georgia in a crucial Group D decider, with manager O'Neill coy about the youngster's future yet quick to voice opinion on Hodgson's efforts to snap up the talented attacking midfielder.
"Roy’s not going to hang around. Well done Roy, putting the pressure on,” he said.
The playmaker would perfectly fit into O'Neill's squad given that the old legs of 33-year-old Wes Hoolahan look to be catching up on him, though the lure of definite European Championships on offer with England could sway his decision.
The fate of the Republic of Ireland in this year's qualifying campaign will play a huge part in Grealish's decision, so as the fixtures wind down and destiny awaits, a new Irish hope could be waiting in the wings, or the familiar sight of a talented English prodigy may be ready to take centre stage.
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