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Martin O'Neill: Rushing Grealish into a decision could backfire on Ireland

Villa youngster absent again as O’Neill names extended squad for Germany and Poland.

Grealish represented Ireland up to U21 level but has taken a break from international football.
Grealish represented Ireland up to U21 level but has taken a break from international football.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

MARTIN O’NEILL WON’T set a deadline for Jack Grealish to decide his international future.

The Aston Villa starlet was thought to be on the brink of ending the tug-of-war earlier this month, but his father rejected reports that he was set to imminently declare for England.

Grealish was nowhere to be seen again as O’Neill named an extended 40-man panel for the decisive Euro 2016 qualifiers against Germany and Poland this afternoon.

The Ireland boss had no further news on the situation but said attempts to rush the teenager could backfire.

“I thought that he was going to make a decision but again, I don’t have any update for you,” O’Neill said in Abbotstown.

I think that essentially the same thing applies — let himself and his father make that decision and whatever decision he comes to, we’ll have to abide by it.

“I spoke to him the last time and I haven’t spoken to him since. I think he just wanted to try to get over the niggling injury at the time and try to force his way into Aston Villa’s side which he has done.

“I think Roy (Keane) said that he wanted him to make his mind up sooner rather than later.”

Roy Hodgson also urged Grealish to make a decision ahead of the final Euro 2016 qualifiers and indicated that he could then be considered for his senior England debut.

But O’Neill refused to put any more pressure on the youngster.

I have to think really about what is probably best for Ireland over the next 10 or 12 years.

“There’s no point in me trying to be selfish and saying, ‘This is it.’

“It might be a case of him making a decision in the next couple of weeks and we have to live with that one way or the other.

“I think for the long-term future of the Republic of Ireland, I’m not so sure if sticking deadlines would be (a good idea). If I was at club level, it might be a different issue.”

Martin O’Neill names 40-man Ireland squad for decisive Euro 2016 qualifiers

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Niall Kelly

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