Monday 24 October 2016

Jack Grealish latest in a long list of players to face the big Ireland/England question

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish

AS JACK Grealish prepares to choose between the green of Ireland and the white of England, history shows that the decision on the Ireland/England choice don't always go to plan.

Some players were capped at underage level by England but then went on to play, with distinction, for the Republic: Dean Kiely, Steven Reid, Andy O'Brien and current international Ciarán Clark are just four of the players who wore the white shirt but ended up having a senior career in green. Leon Best was once named in an England U20 squad but he never played for them and progessed to win senior caps with Ireland.

More recently, lads like Aidan White (now Leeds) and Rhys Murphy (now Oldham) declared for Ireland after spells in the England set-up, though their careers appear to have stalled, with club and country.

There has also been some traffic in the other direction, players who initially hooked up with Ireland but then had their heads turned by England. Back in August 2010, an Ireland U18 side lost 3-0 to Ukraine in a tournament held in the Czech Republic.

The Ireland XI contained Michael Keane and Patrick Bamford, who have both recently appeared for England's U21 side, though Bamford - on loan from Chelsea to Middlesbrough - has this week stated that while he "feels English" he has not ruled out the idea of playing for Ireland again.


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