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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Roy Hodgson: Jack Grealish made a bold decision but no guarantees he's getting into England squad

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has pledged his international future to England
Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has pledged his international future to England

Roy Hodgson has warned Jack Grealish he cannot guarantee him a place in his squad despite the midfielder's decision to represent England over the Republic of Ireland.

The Solihull-born 20-year-old turned out for Ireland's Under-17s as he qualified through his grandparents but his form for Aston Villa has seen him touted as a future England international.

Grealish turned down a senior call-up with Ireland for their friendly with England in June and pledged his allegiance to the Three Lions in a statement earlier this week.

READ MORE: FAI: We did everything we could to get Jack Grealish

He is unavailable for the European Championship qualification double-header against Estonia and Lithuania and, despite England having already qualified for next summer's tournament, boss Hodgson will not make special allowances to fast-track Grealish into his squad.

"I'm very pleased," he said of the player's decision.

READ MORE: Liverpool's Danny Ings and Spurs' Dele Alli called up to England squad

"I think it is the right decision, frankly he is English having met him and his father, it is an English family albeit with fairly distant Irish roots.

"I think he has got the talent to be an England player, he has a lot of work today before that day is concreted - but I was happy that in a choice between the two countries he took the bolder decision to try and be an England international.

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

"I was keen to point out to him and his father that there are no guarantees from my point of view - one thing I can categorically say is that the only way he will get into the England squad is if he is one of the best 23.

"We can't offer him any sweeteners or bonuses because you have made a decision to play for England."

Hodgson, who confirmed Villa boss Tim Sherwood had rejected a request for Grealish to train with his squad at St George's Park in the build-up to the fixtures, has called on him to show his undoubted talent at his club to break into the England reckoning.

"We are very happy but what matters now is how he does for Aston Villa - he has got to play well enough now to make sure he gets into the England squad," he said.

"If you make the decision it is because it is something you want to do, I left it with him and I was very pleased to see he plumped for us.

"Tim believes he has a big future and from what little I have seen from him, because he's been injured, I also think Jack has got a big talent - so it was more a question of compounding what he was hearing from other people.

"All he can do now is confirm that talent by playing week after week for Aston Villa - then the world is your oyster."

While Grealish was not internationally cleared to link up with the squad, Hodgson called up uncapped duo Dele Alli and Danny Ings, while there were also recalls for fit-again Ryan Bertrand, Phil Jones and Adam Lallana.

On 19-year-old Alli, Hodgson said: "He has only just broken into the Tottenham team but we have been very impressed by what we have seen.

"We are a year away from France so the thinking is it's a good opportunity for him to come with us, when so many midfield players are missing through injury, that we can get to know him better. Who knows where he will end up? He's a very exciting talent.

Ings is one of five forwards in the squad with Hodgson having seen the other four - Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and captain Wayne Rooney - all score in the Premier League last weekend.

The Liverpool striker has 13 Under-21 caps and Hodgson is happy to finally have him involved at senior level, adding: "He is someone we followed very closely at Burnley last year but we didn't have a chance to bring him in with us because of the Under-21 tournament.

"He was an important member of the Under-21s and we never felt we could rob them to have him with us. Now he is a senior and it is a good opportunity to bring him in - especially now he has been playing at Liverpool and scoring."

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