Roy Hodgson can’t understand Jack Grealish’s reasons for delaying a decision on his international future – insisting he won’t discuss the Aston Villa playmaker’s dilemma with his agent.
The Birmingham-born attacker – who turns 20 on Thursday – has represented Ireland through the underage ranks but is considering an offer of defecting to his homeland.
After meeting both Hodgson and Ireland manager Martin O’Neill over the summer, Grealish says the decision will be made by the end of September.
The player’s father Kevin confirmed that, while agent David Manasseh arranged and attended both meetings with the family, he was not involved in any discussions then and since on the matter.
“I’m not 100 per cent certain of what he (Grealish) is waiting for,” the England boss said yesterday.
“I would like him to come out and say, ‘I’ve thought about it, I’ve got the two possibilities and I’m opting for England’ and then he will be available for selection.
“But he has been injured, to be fair, so he wouldn’t have been selectable for any team during these September fixtures. Now maybe before the October fixtures he might make that decision.” While Hodgson is not imposing a deadline for Grealish to declare his allegiance, he made it clear his chances of breaking into his squad for next summer’s European Championship finals are receding.
“It would be nice if he says yes. Then he would have a year to see if he could knock one or two of these players off their perch,” Hodgson added.
“That would be pleasant but there is no time limit. 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.
“I made it clear to him, ‘It’s got to be your decision, it’s got to be something you really want to do and that feels right’.” Though Kevin Grealish is adamant Manasseh, also the agent of Gareth Bale, won’t influence his son’s choice of country, Hodgson isn’t prepared to engage in talks with his representative, irrespective of whether the player is present. “What I don’t do is speak to agents about their players,” Hodgson said. “I don’t go to meetings where an agent sits there and tells me and I have to deal with that. I wasn’t prepared to intervene with that.
“Maybe the English FA will have to if the boy insists his agent is there, but I’m not prepared to do that. I think it’s very inappropriate.”
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