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Sunday 11 December 2016

Jack feared a bad reception in England V Ireland game - dad

soccer

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish

FOOTBALLER Jack Grealish has declined Martin O'Neill's offer to join the Ireland squad as he wants to focus on his career at Aston Villa, his father said.

There was confusion regarding Grealish's future in the green jersey after it was initially announced that he was due to be part of Ireland's squad to face England.

However, Irish manager Martin O'Neill said at a press conference that the 19-year-old, who is at the centre of a tug-of-war between the FAI and the English FA, had opted not to be included.

"I spoke to both Jack and his father and Jack didn't want to make up his mind at this stage," said O'Neill.

Although he has represented Ireland at underage level, Grealish has been hesitant in accepting a senior call-up.

The Irish manager admitted he is disappointed by the star's decision but still thinks "there is a good possibility" he will play for Ireland.

"He didn't want to make a decision now," he said.

Jack's father, Kevin, said that his son wants to put all of his energies into his career at Aston Villa.

"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," Mr Grealish said.

He said that if England manager Roy Hodgson had placed the same call, he would have been turned down too.

Mr Grealish added that there were also fears he wouldn't have had a good reception at the England v Ireland match on June 7.

"Being English-born and having Irish relatives, Jack would probably get booed by both sets of fans if he played in their meeting," he said.

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