The provisional Ireland squad to face Scotland and USA has been announced and once again Martin O'Neill has not been able to wrangle Jack Grealish's name onto the list. The 19 year old seems to be the main point of interest whenever O'Neill names a squad and, unsurprisingly, the Irish manager has seen fit to update us on the latest developments.
There had been reports from Grealish's father that his son may be willing to make his Ireland debut against USA, something which would not tie him to the Boys in Green indefinitely. However, according to O'Neill, the last contact he had with the Aston Villa midfielder (through his father) was ahead of the Oman game at the start of September.
It’s a point that I want to clear a few things up. I had a conversation with his father some time ago. Naturally he was breaking into the Aston Villa side at the time.
I suggested to his father that he might want to get involved with Oman game and still not wanting to commit myself. The father sent me a message to say he would concentrate on the U21s at that time. I’ve left it since then. And there’s been no conversation since then.
Despite the seemingly incessant calls for the midfielder to make a decision, O'Neill has tempered expectations about what the midfielder could bring to the squad in the immediate future.
It’s like everything else. Some new kid of town comes in with eligibility for Ireland. There’s no doubt from the bits I’ve seen of Jack, he’s got a lot of talent and he looks a lot stronger than he did in the first time I saw him in a match, a game for Notts County against Brentford when he was on loan.
And while O'Neill is justifiably optimistic about the youngster's development as a football, he has once again stated that he won't be putting any undue pressure on Grealish to decide his international future.
Of course, I’d like to have..as I did have..have conversations with the player and his father but I’m not really there to go and turn around and force someone into a decision they may not fancy somewhere down the line. I’d rather it came from those people and that’s the best way for it to be. I’m not going to force it. It would be nice to hear someone come up and say this is what I want to do.