Monday 24 October 2016

Grealish gets England nod as O'Neill calls Callum

Jack Grealish. Photo: Sportsfile
Jack Grealish. Photo: Sportsfile

Jack Grealish is now heading to France this summer, but as part of the England U21 side following his first call-up since his defection from the Ireland camp.

Seven months after he made his decision to end his association with Ireland and play for his native England, the Aston Villa man has been called up by Gareth Southgate to join the English U21 squad for the Toulon tournament in France later this month.

When the player made public his decision last year, England's senior team boss Roy Hodgson warned Grealish that there would be no fast-track process into the senior set-up, and that's been the case as the talented Villa man must cut his teeth with England at this friendly tournament. Grealish will hook up with his new international team-mates at the FA's St George's Park HQ next Monday for training.

Meanwhile, current Ireland U21 cap Callum O'Dowda has the potential to go a long way in the game, according to Martin O'Neill who watched the Oxford man in March.

"I went to watch the U21 game against Italy and I thought he did very well in the match," says O'Neill, who named O'Dowda in his 35-man squad for the upcoming friendly games.

"He followed it up with an excellent performance in the Johnstones Paint Trophy final. I like him, I think he's got ability, can he play higher, absolutely, and just with how I brought in Jack Byrne, it's a chance for him to have a feel of the pace so that when he's ready to go he won't be intimidated by anything."

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