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Decision surprises O'Neill

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill admits the decision of Liam McAlinden to opt for Republic of Ireland has come as a blow.

Last Updated: 03/06/13 at 19:51 Post Comment

Liam McAlinden: Has chosen Republic of Ireland for his international future

Liam McAlinden: Has chosen Republic of Ireland for his international future

The Wolves teenager turned down a call-up for Northern Ireland's U21s last week having informed the Irish Football Association of his decision.

O'Neill was confident he could secure the services of the 19-year-old because of his relationship with Northern Ireland U21 coach Stephen Robinson.

"It was one which came as a little bit of a surprise to us," O'Neill said. "He has a good relationship with Stephen Robinson, our Under-21 coach.

"I met Liam personally on a couple of occasions and we met with him hoping that might persuade him to stay with Northern Ireland, but he has decided to stick by his decision.

"I think for family reasons he maybe felt a greater sway to play for the Republic of Ireland. He mentioned that when we did have a meeting with him.

"I believe he would certainly have a greater chance to play for us at senior level in the near future than he will do with the Republic of Ireland, but ultimately the decision lies with the player."

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A

nd we always will love Ozil. I don't really mind if no other team can see just how brilliant he is, or if people think he is rubbish, because we know he is far from it. He is a fantastic player, and if people cannot see that it can only be a good thing, in that he will be at Arsenal for years to come, pulling the strings from behind a glass veil.

ganachus
F365's Top Ten Unheralded Players Of The Season

I

like the list and Ozil in particular does seem under appreciated when you look at his stats (an odd thing considering his fee or maybe because of it). Palace have a few and I've always thought Dwight Gayle at Palace was under rated, certainly when you look at his goals per game ratio. You can probably also add Ryan Bertrand at Saints who should be in the England team in my view.

sensiblepoolfan
F365's Top Ten Unheralded Players Of The Season

N

ew Shaun Wright Phillips, there I've said it. If any club offers stupid money we'd be stupid to say no, he's not a potential worldie by any stretch and I feel that after a few years warming the bench at city or Chelsea he'll be back at QPR smoking sheesha pipes under Harry Redknapp.

uncle monty
Sterling Case For Leaving 'Bigger' Club

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