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Jack Grealish 'at a crossroads', says Given, as English FA step up their interest

English FA reportedly want the Villa youngster to play at next month’s U20 Toulon Tournament.

Image: Adam Davy

Updated at 8am

JACK GREALISH IS “at a crossroads” regarding his international allegiance, according to the teenager’s Aston Villa team-mate Shay Given.

Grealish set tongues wagging with a starring role in Villa’s Wembley win against Liverpool on Sunday.

And the Football Association immediately stepped up their efforts to get the Birmingham-born starlet to declare for England.

Grealish, 19, has represented Ireland at underage level up to U21 and despite taking a break from international action, indicated that he was likely to return to Noel King’s squad later this year.

“It’s going to be a difficult decision,” Given said on Newstalk’s Off the Ball.

“He’s played underage with Ireland and he’s enjoyed it. He said to me he loves playing with Ireland, he loves coming across.

But he’s at a bit of a crossroads now as we all know and it’s hard for him to make that decision.

“He does have a strong connection with Ireland and, of course, he’s born in England as well. He’s got that connection as well so it’s a tricky one.

“Of course I’m in his ear all the time, not even trying to persuade him. I think he’s just a little bit confused. He’s a very young man and it is such a big decision with his whole career, his whole life ahead of him to make it at such a young age.

“We’re coaxing him along and hopefully he does come and play for us because he’d be a real star player for us.”

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Ireland boss Martin O’Neill indicated last week that it might still be too soon to offer Grealish a senior call-up for the games against England and Scotland in June.

Meanwhile, the Independent reports that English FA have enquired about the possibility of him switching sides before the U20 Toulon Tournament next month.

With a cross-channel battle brewing around him, Given says that even Grealish himself doesn’t know which way he’s leaning.

“To be honest, I think they’re just undecided,” Given added. “Fans, players, Irish people in general probably want to know yesterday.

I really think, deep down, he doesn’t actually know yet himself. It is a big decision, it’s probably one of the biggest decisions he’ll make in his whole career, and he’s so young.

“He probably could be in the Irish senior squad now and maybe he wouldn’t be in the England squad, but maybe in a couple of years he could be a regular in the England squad. You just don’t know.

“All these emotions, all these different thoughts and pluses and minuses and negatives and positives, all those different things going on in his head — it is a tough decision.

“We won’t force him and back him into a corner. I just hope he comes to that decision, for everyone concerned, the sooner the better.”

Originally published at 22.50 on 20 April.

Martin O’Neill is wrong — Jack Grealish is ready to play for Ireland

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Niall Kelly

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