Roy Keane shuts down 'stupid' Jack Grealish argument ahead of Aston Villa return

Injury permitting, Jack Grealish will make his much-anticipated return to Aston Villa on Wednesday with Manchester City.

He will do so as an England regular, having been forced to play a bit-part role during Euro 2020.

At the time, it irked Villa fans that Grealish wasn’t given more game time, with some believing there was a bias towards players from so-called ‘big six’ clubs.

Since joining Man City in a £100million deal, Grealish has been handed a more influential role by Gareth Southgate.

It could have been so different had Grealish opted to represent Ireland, whom he played for up to under-21 level before switching his allegiance to England.

Had Grealish and Declan Rice – another who played for young Ireland teams – turned out in a senior competitive game, they would have been tied to the Republic.

READ: Jurgen Klopp has already revealed his plan for Aston Villa target Joe Gomez

READ: Steven Gerrard urged to have Aston Villa transfer rethink ahead of January window

That has prompted questions over whether Ireland’s then management team of former Villa boss Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane should have capped the pair in a qualifying game.

But ex-Villa assistant manager Keane has dismissed that suggestion.

“Does anybody think that a player should be given a cap for Ireland to play so he doesn’t declare for another country?,” he said, reported the Irishman Examiner.

“Well, that’s the wrong reason for somebody to play for Ireland.

“You can’t throw out caps willy-nilly to tie players down. I had Jack at Aston Villa and Declan was in our squad but to me they were always English.

“It doesn’t mean that they couldn’t play for Ireland.

“I never had that feeling about them. You can’t bribe or blackmail players.

“It wasn’t a case of myself and Martin up in the room and us saying, ‘we’ll play them tomorrow so they’re stuck with us’.

“That wouldn’t be fair on the people of Ireland. It’s the most stupid argument you can have.”

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