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Jack Grealish picks England over Ireland

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Birmingham (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Highly-rated Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has pledged his future to England after a tug of war with the Republic of Ireland, his club said on Monday. The 20-year-old represented Ireland at youth levels but some strong showings for Villa caught the eye of England manager Roy Hodgson.

Grealish, who was born in England but qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents, had insisted on taking his time before committing one way or the other but now his decision has been made.

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“Jack Grealish has made a decision over his international future and opted to play for England,” said Villa on Twitter.

Grealish, who turned down a call-up to the senior Ireland squad for a friendly against England in June, was watched by Hodgson’s assistant, Ray Lewington, at Anfield on Saturday as Villa lost 3-2 to Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League. He could now be selected for England’s upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania next month.

With the Three Lions’ place in next summer’s final in France already secured, Hodgson has confirmed he is likely to use the remaining qualifying games to take a look at some different players. England also have a friendly with France scheduled for mid-November.

After pledging his allegiance to England, Grealish tweeted: “It was not an easy decision as Ireland has a special place with me through my family. But I have decided to represent the country of my birth.”

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