Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has opted to play for England rather than the Republic of Ireland.

The 20-year-old played for the Republic at Under-21s level but turned down a call-up to the senior squad for a friendly against England in June.

Birmingham-born Grealish qualifies for the Republic through his grandparents.

“It was not an easy decision as Ireland has a special place with me through my family,” he said. “But I have decided to represent the country of my birth.”

Grealish made his professional debut while on loan at Notts County against MK Dons in September 2013.

His first Villa appearance was in May 2014 as a substitute in a defeat by Manchester City.

England manager Roy Hodgson had made it clear to Grealish that he wanted him to represent his side.

However, Hodgson did not pick him to play against the Republic in June, with the England boss saying “it would have been inflammatory at the last minute if he chose us and played”.