Roy Hodgson feared reaction to Jack Grealish England call-up

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa
Jack Grealish has played for the Republic of Ireland under-17s, under-19s and under-21s

Jack Grealish was not considered for an England call-up for the Republic of Ireland friendly in case of a hostile reception, Roy Hodgson has revealed.

The 19-year-old Aston Villa midfielder has played for the Republic at youth level but is still to choose who he will represent at senior level.

He turned down a Republic call-up for the friendly in Dublin on 7 June.

"It would have been inflammatory at the last minute if he chose us and played," said England manager Hodgson.

Birmingham-born Grealish qualifies for the Republic through his grandparents and national team boss Martin O'Neill believes he could still choose to play for the country.

But Hodgson has made it clear to the player that he wants to him to represent England.

Former Republic international Kevin Kilbane
"Ultimately Jack will go with what he desires. That's the only way it can be. That's the thing about international football, it must be what you want."
Read more

"We've been in regular contact with him and his family and his advisers. He's fully aware that if he wants to play for England we'd be very happy to take him," added the England coach.

"But he has to 100% be allowed to decide himself and it should not be anyone in particular telling him to change allegiance if that is not what he wants to do."

Meanwhile, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said Grealish and Tottenham striker Harry Kane are leading a new crop of home-grown talent.

"It's been great this season generally to see emerging talent, there's Jack Grealish and other players that you've seen come through," he said.

"We've actually had 180 English players take the field this season, which is 10% up on last season so we do think the investment we've been making in youth is starting to come through."

Jack Grealish factfile
Grealish made his senior debut while on loan at Notts County against MK Dons in September 2013.
His Villa debut followed in May 2014 as an 88th-minute substitute in a 4-0 defeat by Man City.
Grealish has made 22 appearances in first full season at Villa Park, including his full Premier League debut against QPR.
He scored his first professional goal for County against Gillingham in December 2013 but is yet to find the net in 23 appearances for Villa.

Top Stories