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Keano suspects Grealish will play for England

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Keane suspects Grealish is swaying towards playing for England
Keane suspects Grealish is swaying towards playing for England

Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane suspects Aston Villa youngster Jack Grealish will opt to commit his international future to England.

Grealish has been involved in a long-running debate over his international future, with his appearances for Ireland at junior international level not denying the English-born midfielder a chance to declare for the country of his birth.

With England boss Roy Hodgson hinting he is close to giving Grealish a call-up to his squad, Keane was less than optimistic that Ireland would secure the services of the teenager as he was quizzed by reporters. 

"He has obviously not made any official decision yet, so we'll have to wait and see," said Keane, with those present suggesting his body language indicated that he was not encouraged by vibes coming out of the Grealish camp.

"If you're a betting man. . . I've got my own personal thoughts on what he's going to do.

"I was lucky enough to work with him at close quarters at Villa, and he's a talented kid.

"But as usual, the media interest - not just the Irish, but in England - they like to build these kids up before they have done too much in the game, and Jack has a lot to do yet.

"There seems to be a blame game going on. Jack was unsure what he wanted to do and we've got to respect his decision whether we like it or not, it's irrelevant."

"But he's got potential, and we'll see over the next few months and years how he progresses. It would be great if it was with us; if not, then we'll just get on with it. It's pretty straightforward.

"I think the frustrating part is that if Jack came here he'd have loved it, playing with Ireland and the senior squad and getting involved. He'd have loved it."

Grealish turned down the chance to be part of the Republic of Ireland squad for Sunday's game against England at the Aviva Stadium.