Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Northern Ireland v Slovenia: Michael O'Neill left baffled by Troy Deeney's claim over Irish FA talks

By Steven Beacom

Published 28/03/2016

Euro move: Troy Deeney says he is in talks with Northern Ireland
Euro move: Troy Deeney says he is in talks with Northern Ireland

Michael O'Neill insists he has no plans to name Troy Deeney in future squads despite the Watford striker claiming talks are taking place about a potential call up for Northern Ireland.

Deeney, who would prefer to play for England, was discussing his international options on Sky's Soccer AM show on Saturday and stated: "We are just confirming the Northern Ireland thing at the moment" in reference to his potential eligibility for the Euro 2016 finalists.

As far as O'Neill is concerned, however, he ruled out Deeney as a Northern Ireland player four years ago because his heritage was one generation out.

Read more: Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill: England showed us how to beat Germans at Euro 2016

The Northern Ireland boss said: "I spoke with Troy about four years ago, not long after I took the job. I was alerted to Troy's potential eligibility, and I spoke to the player and had him watched. We were informed that the eligibility wasn't there, so we didn't pursue it any further.

"So the idea that we are suddenly speaking again is strange. We haven't spoken since four years ago.

"Saturday's news prompted a few texts and tweets, but it is news to me as it has been to everyone else.

Read more: Northern Ireland v Slovenia: Captain Steven Davis out to tear up record books

"When we were informed that the route that we believed made the player eligible no longer existed, you don't explore it any further. That came down to the fact that the bloodline was a generation too far back. That's what we were told at the time.

"I am not sure what the motives are behind Saturday's comments, but it is not something I have given a lot of thought to.

"At the end of the day, if a player is eligible, and we feel he will strengthen the squad, then of course we will look into it, but it is not something we have dwelt on. I am not sure why the recent statements have come out, but I might look at them again when Monday's game is over."

Asked if he will contact Deeney again, O'Neill said: "I don't think there is any point unless the situation has changed. There are conversations we could have, but it is not high on my agenda. My focus is on the players I have here."

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph