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Full Time

Kelly snubs call-up from Republic boss

 

By Damian Spellman

Reading midfielder Liam Kelly has told Martin O'Neill he wants to keep his options open in case England come calling after declining a call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad.

The 22-year-old was named in an initial 30-man party for the Republic's training camp near Antalya this week ahead of Friday's friendly against Turkey, but was not among the final 25 who flew out from Dublin on Monday.

O'Neill revealed Basingstoke-born Kelly, who represented Ireland at Under-18 and Under-21 levels, had declined the offer to join up after putting his players through their paces at the Regnum Sports Centre in Belek yesterday.

He said: "You might want to ask about Liam Kelly, who I think wants to keep his options open at this minute.

"Obviously, he's born in England and wants to keep those options open and that's fine."

Kelly is one of a new group of players to whom O'Neill has turned as he attempts to re-shape his squad after missing out on World Cup qualification.

If O'Neill was disappointed by the response, he admitted it did not come as a complete surprise.

He said: "When we went into the squad, he had not returned a lot of calls coming through at the time."

Belfast Telegraph

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