Tuesday 16 January 2018

England turn sights to Republic hope Jack Grealish

Villa midfielder could be lured by England before Irish debut

Liverpool's Emre Can in action with Aston Villa's Jack Grealish
Liverpool's Emre Can in action with Aston Villa's Jack Grealish

THE chase at club and international level for Ireland U21 cap Jack Grealish is about to hot up after the teenager starred on the Wembley stage as Aston Villa made it through to the FA Cup final.

And boss Tim Sherwood believes that the 19-year-old will cost "a lot of money" if he is to depart Villa Park.

Shay Given and Grealish started for Villa in their 2-1 win over Liverpool which tees up a cup final meeting with Arsenal on May 30th. In only his fifth start for the club, Grealish (19) impressed for Tim Sherwood's side with a big display and underlined just why it's so important for Ireland that the player does finally commit to the Irish cause when he ends his self-imposed exile from international football next year.

Grealish promised in Dublin last month that he'd make himself available for international duty - probably with Ireland despite interest from the England camp - in September.

England boss Roy Hodgson could make a play to lure Grealish to the England fold while Villa will also work to keep him at the club, Sherwood predicting a big future for the Ireland U21 cap.

"He's the heartbeat, really. He knows every turnstile in the ground at Villa Park. He's going to be worth a lot of money to this football club," Sherwood said.

"He's got a big future at the football club. He could be right up there amongst the best of them. The ball is his friend. He likes to receive it he doesn't look at it, he knows where it is, he shifts it, he's got a turn of foot, takes a lot of knocks, but he can take it.

"He's Aston Villa through and through. He lives a couple of miles from the ground, he just wants to play for the club and I want to give him the platform to do that."

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