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Saturday 3 December 2016

FAI: We did everything we could to get Jack Grealish

FAI say they did all they could to make Jack stay

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish

THE Jack Grealish saga is over as the current Irish U21 Player of the Year has finally decided on his international future and declared for England.

Grealish's four-year stint in the Ireland fold ended with a 36-word tweet which said: "I have finally decided to give my allegiance to England". His decision is a blow for Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane who had both admired the 20-year-old, but current U21 boss Noel King, who capped Grealish six times, says Irish football has to live with the decision.

READ MORE: Jack Grealish move is a wake-up call for Ireland

"I don't believe there is anything more we could have done," King (pictured) told The Herald. "This is just one of the realities of international football now, players have choices to make. This is modern-day football, we have been beneficiaries over the years and we will benefit in the future but you can't win them all. We will benefit from players' decisions and lose out, and in this case we have lost out."

Noel King, who handed Jack Grealish his Ireland U21 debut in 2013, says that the player's commitment - when he was part of the Irish fold - was never in doubt but now that the Aston Villa man has made his call, that has to be respected.

"He enjoyed the time he was with us and he always performed to the best of his abilities with Ireland. It's Jack's choice and you have to accept that, I wish him all the best in his career, whether it's the right choice remains to be seen," King told The Herald last night.

King and senior team boss Martin O'Neill held numerous conversations with Grealish, his father and his agent but had to eventually admit defeat.

"Each case is different, you have different family links to Ireland, different club situations, so many aspects that it's a hard decision for anyone to make. Any parent will say that they want the best for their child, even whether the parent agrees with the player's choice you never know," King added.

"I am just glad Jack has made his decision and I wish him the best for the future, Jack's a good young fellah. We will benefit from players' decisions and we will lose out, and in this case we have lost out.

"This is the international arena we are in, every country in Europe has to deal with this.

"We have to be as good as we can at attracting players, but we also have to respect that it's the player's choice of who he plays for in the end. This won't go away, this will be an on-going problem.

"We need to get very good at all this - I am not saying that we are not good at it but we need to be as good as everyone else in international football. We are looking all over the world, Europe and the USA.

"This is modern-day football, we have been beneficiaries over the years and we will benefit in the future but you can't win them all. Players have choices to make and when someone comes to us, and he benefits the team and the country, it's great. If someone then leaves, we have an obligation to wish him all he best and we must respect people's choices."

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