Former Republic of Ireland player Kenny Cunningham believes that Martin O’Neill should not make any further attempts to bring Jack Grealish into the Irish squad.
He was speaking last night on Newstalk’s Off the Ball after Martin O’Neill admitted yesterday he had approached Grealish, but the player rejected the chance to join the senior squad.
“For me that’s it,” Cunningham said. “The line’s already been drawn. He’s been asked to join up with the senior international squad, he’s declined it.
“He doesn’t want to join up with the squad, he doesn’t want to take the invitation to join up with the rest of the players. So that’s it for me, we move on without him.”
19-year-old Grealish has played for Ireland at underage level, but has said he wants to focus on his club career with Aston Villa for now, rather than make a decision on his senior international career. He is eligible to play for England and can change allegiance up until he plays a senior international competitive match.
Jack Grealish in action for Ireland.
Cunningham insists it is a decision that should be easy for the player, and certainly not one that should be taking this long.
“This lad’s 19/20 years of age,” he said. “You make a decision to play for your country with your heart, you don’t make it with your head.
“You don’t need nine or ten months to mull over every potential permutation and the advantages and disadvantages of the choice that you make. It’s not a decision based on logic. It’s a decision you make with every sinew in your body and heart. You make it with your heart and you make it instantaneously.”
Cunningham has received support for his opinion from another code - former Irish and Lions rugby star Brian O’Driscoll this morning tweeted his support for Cunningham's opinion.
Couldn't agree more! https://t.co/zsDFJx4tGH— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) May 13, 2015
Cunninham also said that the Grealish situation would not be going down well with the players on the current panel.
"I'm sure this will be grating a little, seeing the attitude of Jack,” he said.
”You have to consider the dynamic within the dressing room.”