King is still waiting on Jack Gealish to make a call on international future
THE FAI are still waiting on Jack Grealish to make a final call on his international career after the Aston Villa man was again omitted from the Republic's U21 squad.
Grealish has played competitively at youth and U21 levels for Ireland, but his last involvement with the Irish camp was 12 months ago when he won his fifth U21 cap in a home defeat to Montenegro. Since then, his international career has been on hold as Grealish - who was sent off for his club in Saturday's FA Cup win and then played for the Villa reserves on Monday night - mulls over an offer from England U21 boss Gareth Southgate.
Ireland U21 coach Noel King yesterday named his squad for the first game in the qualifiers for the 2017 European Championships, against Andorra in Waterford on March 26th.
While there were some interesting choices and new faces, with first-ever call ups for Niall Keown (Reading), Callum O'Dowda (Oxford) and Shamir Goodwin (Brighton, on loan to Dagenham), there was no Grealish in the panel.
"We've had a look at quite a few players over the past year and we will continue to look at all players who may be eligible to play for us," said King. "There are a couple of new additions to this squad who I've watched at their clubs over the past few months and we're delighted that they have committed themselves to Ireland.
"Our aim is to qualify for the UEFA U21 Championships for the first time and make history.
"It won't be easy as we are in a strong group."
U21 squad v Andorra:
Daniel Rogers (Aberdeen), Ian Lawlor (Manchester City); Jack Connors (Dagenham); Callum O'Dowd (Oxford U), Bradley Garmston (WBA), Niall Keown (Reading), Lee Desmond (St Pat's), Sean Kavanagh (Fulham), Tommie Hoban (Watford), Daragh Lenihan (Blackburn R), Glen Rea (Brighton), Alan Browne (Preston, Matthew Hamilton (Wigan), Jack Byrne (Manchester C), Kenneth McEvoy (Spurs), Dylan Connolly (Ipswich T), Shamir Goodwin(Brighton), Conor Wilkinson (Bolton).