Belfast Telegraph

Republic could delay naming squad for France

By Daniel McDonnell

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill is prepared to wait until next Tuesday to confirm the six players who will miss out on his Euro 2016 squad.

The team started training in Abbotstown yesterday and the Ulsterman's initial plan was to name his final 23 after Friday's friendly with Holland at the Aviva Stadium.

But he is contemplating waiting until after the friendly with Belarus in Turner's Cross on this day week, just ahead of the Uefa deadline.

O'Neill has cut Paul McShane, Jonny Hayes, Alex Pearce and Anthony Pilkington from his provisional 35-man squad, while newcomer Callum O'Dowda is being given some experience.

The confirmation that Marc Wilson, from Aghagallon, near Lurgan, is out of the finals through a knee injury leaves O'Neill with 29 bodies and he might use the Belarus game to make his mind up for sure.

"I don't have a problem waiting as I could still make my mind up or players could make my mind up for me," said O'Neill.

Harry Arter is set to be involved against Holland at some stage as he attempts to make his case, while O'Neill will tell a group that includes Darron Gibson, Daryl Murphy, David McGoldrick, Stephen Quinn and Aiden McGeady to do extra fitness work.

The latter is already in Dublin because he's not needed for loan club Sheffield Wednesday's play-off final. Keiren Westwood, David Forde, David Meyler and Kevin Doyle will link up with the group late because of club commitments.

James McCarthy is doubtful for Friday with a thigh problem but the medical team are happy with the results of a scan.

Shay Given, meanwhile, believes he can offer something to the squad in France, even if he doesn't get the opportunity to take to the field.

"I have experience from major tournaments and if I don't play I feel I still have something to offer the group," said Given yesterday,

"I'm not saying I don't want to play as I am desperate to play against Sweden but if I don't play I will help Darren (Randolph) or Keiren or David or whoever gets the nod. Anything I can pass on to the group I will, it's what best for the team and I think I have lots to offer."

Belfast Telegraph