Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish is still contemplating if he should play for England or the Republic of Ireland on the international level.
Grealish, 19, got his big breakthrough with Aston Villa last season, something that has gotten the attention of the both the English and Irish national teams. Grealish was born in Birmingham, but has represented Ireland at the youth level.
But England manager has made it clear that he would like the young midfielder to choose England over Ireland.
“We’ve spoken to him and what we’ve said, quite simply, is that we think he is a very talented footballer,” Hodgson told The Guardian.
“We think he could have a very good international career and we would be more than happy if he chose that career to be England. I’m still hoping that’s what he will do but at the same time because of his family [grandparents] he has the opportunity to play for Ireland.
“I made it clear to him: ‘It’s got to be your decision, it’s got to be something you really want to do and that feels right because I certainly don’t want to put you under any undue pressure and I’m not going to resort to artificial means to get you with us and stop you playing elsewhere. I want you to play for England because you want to play for England.”
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill was asked about Hodgson’s comments after Ireland’s 1-0 win over Georgia on Monday, and was clearly annoyed with his English counterpart.
“That’s encouraging, that’s encouraging. Roy’s not going to hang around. Well done Roy, putting the pressure on,” O’Neill said.