Kevin Grealish, father and agent of Jack Grealish, is adamant there was no way his son was going to accept a senior international call-up yesterday.
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill yesterday expressed his disappointment that last-minute talks with Jack and his dad failed to result in the Aston Villa attacker being named amongst the squad for next month’s double-header against England and Scotland.
Although the 19-year-old is currently on a self-imposed break from international football until September, O’Neill tried to entice the rising star into the fold earlier for the upcoming matches.
His powers of persuasion met resistance from the Grealish clan, not that the snub means he’s poised to defect to England.
“We appreciated the call from Martin yesterday but there was no way Jack was going to accept,” said Grealish Snr.
“I reiterated to him that we told (U21 manager) Noel King Jack was taking the year out to concentrate on Aston Villa.
“It would be the same answer if England were to make an approach.
“Villa are still not safe from relegation, so all of Jack’s focus is on the final three Premier League games and then the FA Cup final on May 30.
“If the team had nothing to play at this stage of the season, then we might have thought more about it. But not right now.
“Although Jack has started the last six matches for Villa, he faces major competition for his place.
“The likes of Andreas Weimann and Scott Sinclair can’t even get in the Villa team right now because the side is playing so well and getting wins.
“Nothing can be a distraction to keeping his place. Had Jack taken up Martin’s offer, the level of attention and pressure on him at this late stage of the season would have been enormous.”
That Ireland are next facing the nation Grealish is also eligible for next month has made the decision clearcut.
“Being English-born and having Irish relatives, Jack would probably get booed by both sets of fans if he played in their meeting next month,” said Kevin.
“Jack will complete the club season, hopefully with an FA Cup winners’ medal, before taking a break. After that, we’ll look at the international situation.”
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