Keane ‘relaxed’ over Jack situation

Roy Keane insists he’s "quite relaxed" about the Jack Grealish situation but feels people are guilty of over-hyping the Aston Villa teenager.

Keane ‘relaxed’ over Jack situation

Birmingham-born Grealish has played international football only for Ireland since declaring at 14 through his Galway-born grandfather but his emergence as a Premier League player since August has alerted England U21 boss Gareth Southgate.

Keane, though, is unfazed.

“I’ve been quite relaxed about it. People ask me quite a bit because of the Villa connection. He’s done very little in the game yet. People are getting a bit carried away, he’s not started a game in the league for Villa, he’s not scored a goal yet, he’s not got an assist yet.”

Keane also warned Grealish that he won’t be begged.

“If he wants to come and play for Ireland, we’ll be delighted but we can’t be begging people either. If they want to play for Ireland, fantastic. If not we’ll have to accept it.”

Keane’s comments came after Martin O’Neill insisted he has no regrets about the decision to overlook Grealish for Ireland’s US trip in June.

Although rewarding the 19-year-old’s stellar form at U21 level for Ireland with a senior cap against Costa Rica or Portugal four months ago wouldn’t have tied him permanently, it’s understood Grealish was willing to accept the call-up.

Instead, by the time O’Neill and Keane met with the player and his father Kevin at a Birmingham hotel on August 20, the youngster opted to keep an open mind on his international future.

Had he taken up O’Neill on his invitation to train with the squad and featured in the opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Georgia four weeks ago, Grealish’s international status was cast in stone.

Keen not to appear as though he’s betraying the country he’s represented for five years, the teen travelled with Noel King’s U21 squad to Germany, playing the full game in the concluding Uefa qualifier.

But the snub for the stateside end-of-season friendlies apparently stung Grealish and his family.

Whether it proves fatal to O’Neill’s plans to keep the tyro onboard remains to be seen but O’Neill was yesterday unflinching in his decision to leave behind the standout player from U21 squad in the summer.

“I wanted to go with the players I’d seen at that particular time,” was the manager’s explanation.

“I’m not going to apply pressure. I’m not going to do it. People will make up their own minds; it’s their lives.

“Sometimes those things become tiresome. I’ve left it with Jack and his father, I had a perfectly decent conversation with them at the time. I’m not surprised England showing an interest. He and his father know we’d be keen to have him. Jack is trying to break through at Villa and, of course, he’s a very, very decent player. But they know that from the meeting. How many times do I have to say it?”

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