Date: 13th May 2015 at 10:49am
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Former Birmingham City captain Kenny Cunningham has told the media that Jack Grealish should never play for Ireland after refusing a call up to face England and Scotland in the coming months.

Grealish’s father has spoken with the national team and it was expressed to them that Jack wants to focus on finishing the season with Aston Villa before taking on anything else.

Now lets be fair to him here. He is in a relegation battle, it’s his breakthrough year and there is the small matter of an FA cup final coming his way on top of that.

That hasn’t stopped Kenny from throwing his hat in the ring though.

He said ‘I wouldn’t call him up again. This lad’s 19. You make a decision to play for your country with your heart, you don’t make it with your head.

‘You don’t need nine or ten months to mull over every potential permutation and the advantages and disadvantages of the choice that you make.

‘It’s not a decision based on logic. It’s a decision you make with every sinew in your body and heart. This lad’s been in the system for four and five years. He should know!’

Kenny has very much gone for the traditional, ‘you don’t say no’ to your country. The whole, you wait for the call and it should not be the other way round. Which I get and a mentality built on that could well produce a very focused and determined team.

So do you want players who have said no to the national team every playing again for the shirt? Well I don’t think turning your country down means you won’t give it your all when you eventually get the chance to play.

Other Irish sportsman have weighed in as well criticising the decision not to play. There are also plenty of unsavory comments on twitter which we see no need in repeating on here – you can imagine exactly what they are.

I would venture to say that all the youngster would like is some more time to clear up his schedule before opting to put his country before himself.

There is a traditional view that country comes before all else, and that really resonates with fans and the public alike. But we’re all individuals with different wants and needs, people would do well to remember that before they allow the populist opinion of the majority ridicule a young lad for making a decision.

It could well be the wrong decision, winning over national team fans is no easy task, as David Beckham found out before coming the golden boy of English football he was the villain and received threats on his life.

I’m sure the reasoned majority of football fans can appreciate the young mans decision and Aston Villa fans won’t mind as this decision benefits them most.

And, the Irish fans who are disgruntled at the moment will come around once Grealish opts in and not out.

Cunningham, born in Dublin is Irish through and through, the 43 year old spent 4 years at Birmingham making over 130 appearances for the club in what was a successful spell.

He signed from the then Wimbledon Town for £650,000 and immediately made himself the key man at the back for Blues. Leading by example and always putting in a good shift Cunningham was a vital cog in the Bruce early years.

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