Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has turned his back on the Republic of Ireland in order to pledge his international future to England.
The 20-year-old was born in Solihull in the West Midlands but qualified for the Irish through his grandparents and represented them from Under-15 to Under-21 level.
However, at senior level, Grealish will now hope to carve out a top-level career with the Three Lions, who have already made it to next summer’s European Championship in France with two games of their qualification campaign to spare.
Grealish will hope to be named in England boss Roy Hodgson’s next squad which will be for the Group E games against Estonia and Lithuania next month, with the veteran tactician tipped to give some younger fringe players a run-out.
The player tweeted on Monday: “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.”
More immediately, and before the next international break, Villa will be hoping Grealish plays his part in helping them climb the Premier League table.
The Villans are currently languishing in the relegation zone after seven league games, having won only one Premier League match at promoted Bournemouth on the opening day of the new season.
Tim Sherwood’s men lost 3-2 at Liverpool last time out and are 2.40 to bounce back with victory against a struggling Stoke City (3.00) at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon.