Kilbane: 'Don't push Grealish issue'
KEVIN Kilbane believes that the Ireland set-up should not bother fighting to get Jack Grealish back onside and should just "let him go".
The Aston Villa man has again been left out of the Ireland U21 squad (see opposite page) as Grealish, being tracked by the England set-up, has yet to make a final decision on his international allegiance.
Kilbane made a statement early in his career when he refused the offer of a trial with England's youths as he was so keen to play for Ireland - much to the annoyance of his then club boss Sam Allardyce - and he is frustrated with Grealish's indecision.
"I think Martin O'Neill is right with his decision not to push it too much. If he's trying to pressurise him too much, you're making a bigger deal than what it actually is," said Kilbane.
"Ideally, yes, I'd want him to play but I think we're making too much of a kid who hasn't played enough football. Overall, if he hasn't played or hasn't got the game time, I don't think we should be making an issue of it.
"I just think 'let him at it'. If he doesn't want to commit, let him go. Has he started one Premier League game?
"That says it all. Let him do his own thing," added Kilbane, who had no such dilemma in his own international career.
"I knew what I wanted when I was 15, 14 or even 10. I wanted to go. In an ideal world, I want the (Grealish) decision made now," he says.
"In many respects, making my debut for the Irish U21s was a bigger deal than making my debut for the senior team because it was the first time I'd ever pulled on the jersey.
"Of course, I'd want him to commit, one way or the other, what he wants to do. But that's just football isn't it?
"There are a lot of other influences in and around players now, agents managers, getting into their heads, it's quite simple made complicated."