Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has been dropped from the England under 21 side after missing a team meeting according to The Mirror.
The 21-year-old was due to start in the Young Lions’ friendly match against Denmark on Monday but failed to attend Aidy Boothroyd’s requested discussion. Grealish has six international caps for England at under 21 level and was beginning to establish himself with the squad.
He was therefore dropped from the starting team.
Grealish has become a controversial figure in recent years as a result of his indiscipline. Despite his talent as a footballer he is still yet to make any significant progress since showing very early promise in the youth sides of Aston Villa and during his debut season for the Birmingham club.
Grealish’s name has become a tiresome sight for Ireland fans. Having been capped from under 17 level up, the midfielder switched allegiances to England where he honestly stated his ambitions for his international future. It was a frustrating and lengthily saga in which Grealish took his time in deciding who to represent despite offers from Martin O’Neill to join the senior squad.
However, this latest act of unprofessionalism on Grealish’s behalf could be yet another indicator that Ireland have dodged a bullet and escaped the burden of trying to contain the youngster. Although Grealish did not cause any known issues while on Ireland camp, Martin O’Neill could have run into problems with the player should he have granted him a fast track to the senior set up.
The incident with Boothroyd draws similar parallels to Stephen Ireland who had a major falling out with Brian Kerr at under 18 level. Although Ireland went on to represent the senior set up before his self inflicted exile, some of Ireland’s issues with the national team could have originated from this early dispute.
There is no doubting Grealish’s talent and tremendous potential, however he could be jeopardising a hugely successful career by making foolish decisions. Having started the season strongly at Villa following their relegation from the Premier League, he now finds himself in and out of the squad under Steve Bruce.
Grealish’s latest actions will not do his international expectations any good either. With some talented wide players coming through the ranks for England at senior level, Grealish is already a long way down the pecking order in Gareth Southgate’s mind, a man who made huge efforts to pluck him from the clutches of Ireland.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena