Jack Grealish, the outstanding Aston Villa teenager, has rejected the chance to join the Republic of Ireland squad for the vital Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland in Dublin next month.
But Scotland’s top scorer, Adam Rooney of Aberdeen, is included in the 33-man provisional party named by Martin O’Neill yesterday. Rooney, who has scored 17 league goals this season and 27 in all competitions, has been capped nine times at under-21 level but has still to win a full cap.
Grealish’s decision will inevitably lead to speculation that the midfielder is on the brink of switching to England. The Birmingham-born player is eligible for both countries but has already represented Republic of Ireland at Under-21 level.
Republic manager O’Neill revealed yesterday that the 19-year-old had rejected the chance to join up with the squad for next month’s friendly against Roy Hodgson’s side and the Euro 2016 qualifier clash with Scotland.
However, despite months of patient pursuit, during which assistant manager Roy Keane also went to work on Grealish, he is sticking to his guns after revealing earlier in the year that he would make his decision at the start of next season.
O’Neill initially accepted that stance, but decided to test the water with the youngster having forced his way into the Villa