Belfast Telegraph

Will Grigg should resolve Northern Ireland future with boss Michael O'Neill, urges Dowie

By Steven Beacom in the Sunday Life

Iain Dowie has told Will Grigg not to throw away his international career and urged the Wigan striker and Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill to resolve any differences they may have.

Earlier this year, O’Neill revealed that Grigg turned down the chance to be involved in the March friendly against South Korea to focus on his club and the forward didn’t make the end-of-season tour to Central America either.

It has led to suggestions of a fall-out between the pair and questions about whether Grigg, frustrated by his lack of game time at international level, will ever play for Northern Ireland again, though both parties insist they have an amicable relationship.

Dowie, who led the line throughout the 1990s for Northern Ireland, would love to see Grigg back in the fold, declaring that his finishing qualities could be priceless in the bid to qualify for the Euro 2020 finals.

“Will hasn’t played as much as he would like and he can challenge the manager about that but at the same token be respectful,” said ex-Crystal Palace and QPR boss Dowie.

“Everyone should be respectful of the job that Michael has done. The essence is that the two of them need to sit down and get it resolved.

“We haven’t got a huge talent base and as a result we need the best players that we can get. I speak to Wigan boss Paul Cook, who is a mate of mine, and if Michael wanted to talk to me about having a word with Cookie I would, though I’m sure Michael could do that himself.

“I want the best for Northern Ireland. Always have done and always will. Between the two of them it would be great to get it sorted because Will gives us a finishing option that we don’t have.

“The goal that Will produced for Wigan to beat Manchester City in the FA Cup last season for example was right out of the top drawer. It was real class and showed his ability. My view is that if chances fall to Will in and around the area he has proved himself to be a natural finisher and it would be great if he was back in the squad.

“Why he is not in the team I don’t know. I would trust Michael’s judgment which has been very good. I know from my experiences of playing for Northern Ireland that it can be a tough role up front but I would say to Will, why would you want to end your international career?

“It has given him some great times already. He went to the Euros with the squad which is something myself and many others never had the chance to do with Northern Ireland, and he may have the opportunity to go again to Euro 2020 so I hope that he keeps himself involved on the international stage. Ultimately, it’s down to Michael and Will to resolve any differences.”

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