Tuesday 25 October 2016

Keane's face betrays fear for Grealish

IF the body language was anything to go by, Roy Keane is no longer confident that Jack Grealish (above) will choose Ireland.

He didn't say as much and perhaps the various contortions of his face during his answers on the subject were just tics but it was hard to avoid the feeling that he thinks the Grealish ship has sailed - flying the red ensign.

Keane worked with Grealish during his spell at Villa Park as assistant to Paul Lambert and recent comments from the conflicted youngster's father suggested that there were no hard feelings towards the Ireland No. 2. If anything, Grealish rates the Corkman as a hero.

But whether that can yet help convert Grealish to the right path remains to be seen. Is Jack running out of time?

"I don't know if there's been a time scale on it. What I found working with Jack in my short time at club level is that he's a really good kid. Obviously, I've never been in that situation," he said.

"Whatever decision he makes will be the right one, whether we like it or not. I think if Jack came here with the senior squad, he'd have loved it. There seems to be a blame game going on. Jack was unsure what he wanted to do, we've got to respect the decision whether we like it or not, it's irrelevant.

"He's obviously not made any official decision so we'll have to wait and see."

Are you hopeful?

"You have to be."

He's been tipped to pick England.

"Ah well. Jack's a good kid. He was over at FAI awards. It's a difficult decision. If you're a betting man? I've got my own thoughts on what he's going to do. Let's wait and see.

"But we also have to focus on the players who are here and who are getting ready for the big games coming up, and hopefully the Jack situation will take care of itself over the next few months. That would be my take on it."

With that in mind, Wes Hoolahan was working away in a corner with physio staff while Keane spoke and it looks as if Martin O'Neill will be able to pick from a full deck.

"We'll see over the next day or two. We need to see how players respond to yesterday (v NI). Some haven't got a lot of minutes under their belt. We've all said that the really important game is the following weekend.

"We need to take stock. Jon Walters came in yesterday. Wes has done a little bit today. We'll have a look at it over the next 24 hours.The players know there are places up for grabs. There's a lot to play for on Sunday," said Keane.

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