Grealish pulls out of Ireland U21 squad as England still hovering

Jack Grealish has pulled out of Noel King’s Ireland U21 squad for Thursday’s friendly against Norway (6pm Irish time) — hours after England U21 boss Gareth Southgate confirmed he still wants the Aston Villa man to declare for the Three Lions.

Grealish pulls out of Ireland U21 squad as England still hovering

Grealish, 19, withdrew from the Ireland squad to play in a Villa first-team match behind closed doors. He is also in contract negotiations with the club.

“I accept Jack’s reasons for withdrawing and understand it. I have no issue with it,” said King.

Grealish’s withdrawal though comes after Southgate confirmed the FA are still talking to Grealish about his future. “Jack is somebody we’ve spoken to over the years, him and his family,” said Southgate. “He has been in our younger development teams. The family and Jack are aware of our interest.”

English-born Grealish, pictured, has represented Ireland at U17, U18 and U21 levels.

King makes four changes to his squad for Thursday’s friendly, calling up up Fulham defender Sean Kavanagh, Dundee striker Philip Roberts, Shels winger Dylan Connolly and Kenny McEvoy, on-loan at Peterborough from Tottenham. From the original squad named Bradley Garmston, Conor Wilkinson, Will Hayhurst and Grealish withdraw.

Ireland squad: Lawlor (Man City), Rogers (Aberdeen, on-loan at Dumbarton), Long (Reading), Watkins-Clark (Stoke), Hoban (Watford), Griffin (Reading), O’Connell (Celtic), Sweeney (Reading), Lenihan (Blackburn), Browne (Preston), Connors (Dag & Redbridge), Sadlier (West Ham), McEvoy (Spurs, on-loan at Peterborough), Kavanagh (Fulham), Byrne (Man City), Connolly (Shelbourne), Roberts (Dundee), Byrne (Everton).

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