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Jack Grealish faced “intense” criticism from Irish Premier League players after declaring for England

jack grealish ireland

Jack Grealish played for Ireland at various underage levels.

Jack Grealish faced taunts from Ireland internationals during Aston Villa games after declaring for England in 2015, it has emerged.

In a piece on The Athletic about Jack Grealish and Declan Rice’s journey from Ireland underage stars to England Euro 2020 heroes, it’s reported that Grealish faced on-pitch criticism over his international situation as he was making the grade at Aston Villa.

jack grealish ireland switch

Jack Grealish faced criticism from Ireland players.

The article states that “people close to Grealish recall his involvement with Ireland could create problems when he was breaking through at Villa.

Grealish would come up against Irish players from other Premier League sides who would try to get under his skin. Some would call him a ‘Plastic Paddy.'”

Grealish represented Republic of Ireland from under-17 level up to the under-21s. Before declaring for England, there were calls for senior Ireland boss Martin O’Neill to cap him and thus secure his international future.

“When he announced his switch to England he opened himself to more of the same, only worse,” Daniel Taylor writes.

“More than once, he was told on the pitch what some Irish players thought of his decision. Heat of the moment stuff, perhaps, but not very pleasant, all the same. One incident became so intense that one of Grealish’s senior team mates had to step in and get involved.”

As England fought to get Grealish to pledge for the Three Lions, O’Neill’s assistant Roy Keane reportedly used his role on the Aston Villa backroom team to try and get the midfielder to nail his colours to the Irish mast.

“It wasn’t easy,” Taylor quotes one of Grealish’s former Villa team mates. “Because Roy Keane was our assistant at the time. He was always in Jack’s ear, trying to get him to play for Ireland.”

jack grealish ireland

Jack Grealish and Declan Rice turned back on Ireland to play for England.

Unlike Jack Grealish, Declan Rice represented Ireland at senior level, winning three caps in friendlies under O’Neill, before placing himself in international exile and then confirming his wish to play for England in 2019.

Both Grealish and Rice have played key roles in taking England to the Euro 2020 semi-finals and while Rice is likely to start against Denmark tomorrow, it remains to be seen if Jack Grealish will get the nod to play from Gareth Soutgate.

READ NEXT: England v Denmark: Live updates, TV & stream details for Euro 2020 semi-final

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