Martin O’Neill says Jack Grealish’s decision to represent England rather than the Republic of Ireland was a disappointment but insists he never “prostituted” himself to try to persuade the midfielder otherwise.
The Aston Villa youngster has declared his intention to play for the country of his birth. despite having featured for Ireland at various youth levels up to the Under-21s.
O’Neill accepts the decision made by Grealish and says he never went overboard to try to sway him to represent his own team.
“I never prostituted myself in any way, shape or form trying to get Jack Grealish,” he said.
“I never chased him at all and I think Jack Grealish and his father would readily admit that. In fact, actually I was accused of the other thing, of not chasing it up.
“Jack Grealish had a decision to make. He was born in England, his father was born in England and therefore he made a decision to play in England, so that is it.
“It is absolutely and utterly his and his father’s decision to do that, so it is fine. Jack has really good talent – a really fine player and of course it is a disappointment to lose out on that, but hopefully it’s not the end of the world.”
Ireland are preparing for a crucial Euro 2016 qualification double-header, with games against Germany and Poland set to decide their fate in Group D.
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