Windsor Park

Next Game

N Ireland v Faroe Islands

Saturday, 11 October 2014, 19:45

European Qualifiers Group F

Last Game

Hungary 1 - 2 N Ireland

Sunday, 07 September 2014, 17:00

European Qualifiers Group F

Player frustration for O'Neill

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill admits he has been unsuccessful in his efforts to expand the country's player pool.

Last Updated: 17/11/13 at 09:37 Post Comment

Michael O'Neill: Was unsuccessful in adding four players from lower leagues

Michael O'Neill: Was unsuccessful in adding four players from lower leagues

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

O'Neill has clocked up significant hours poring over lists of uncapped players from the home nations to see if they are eligible for Northern Ireland.

However, apart from the addition of Scotland-born defender James McPake, O'Neill has found the process a frustrating one.

"There are none in the Premier League who are eligible and are prepared to come and play for Northern Ireland," admitted O'Neill.

"When I got the job, I went through every Premier League squad to find out those players who are not playing international football somewhere else.

"The nature of the game has changed. There are not many Premier League players who don't play international football already.

"If they don't, they probably feel as though they don't need it. It's not a career enhancer to them.

"We contacted all the agents at the beginning. The process originally was to look at all players from England, Scotland and Wales. We also looked at the Republic of Ireland.

"To be honest, the likelihood of finding a French player or a Nigerian with a granny from Belfast is pretty slim.

"I would love to tell you there are some hidden gems out there, but there just aren't.

"They just weren't there for us and that is why my main focus now is on the group we do have."

O'Neill came close to adding four players from the lower divisions in England but a variety of stumbling blocks got in the way.

Watford striker Troy Deeney's family link was too distant, Huddersfield's Sean Scannell has yet to commit, while Notts County's David Bell and Millwall's Liam Feeney have suffered dips in form since being identified.

"We have gone down a lot of roads and made a lot of calls about players," said O'Neill.

"Troy said his grandfather was from Northern Ireland and we were delighted at the thought of bringing him in but at the last minute it turned out to be his great grandfather, so he didn't qualify for us.

"David Bell and Sean Scannell are two players who came through that eligibility category. If Sean Scannell said he would like to come and play for us, we would welcome him with open arms.

"David indicated he would be very keen to play for us but he has had a difficult 18 months; Liam Feeney is another player I spoke to. I met him in Dublin when he was on tour with Millwall but again, he has had a difficult last 12 months.

"It's not a case of just saying 'right, who is eligible?' and then bringing them into the squad. For us to bring someone in, they have to be on the up."

More of the games that matter

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

W

riting a minute by minute account on Berbatov would be like chronicling the days of the guy punished for sloth in the movie Se7en. Day 4 - lay in bed, did nothing - 15th minute, stood there did nothing .

lustral
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

W

hen players in their 30s leave Real Madrid, it's usually to Bolton Wanderers. I miss those days.

sailingmagpie
Top Ten CL Players Whetting Our Appetite

W

ow Pete, you would make an excellent stalker!

fouloleron
Taking A Close Look At Mario...

Footer 365

Europa League: Everton boss Roberto Martinez delighted with 4-1 win over Wolfsburg

Roberto Martinez was delighted with Everton's display as they brushed aside Wolfsburg to win 4-1 in the Europa League.

Europa League: Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino hits out at Partizan banner

Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino was angered by the "unacceptable" anti-Semitic banner displayed by Partizan fans.

Europa League: Everton open Group H campaign with 4-1 win over Wolfsburg

Everton opened their Europa League Group H campaign with a convincing 4-1 win over Wolfsburg at Goodison Park.

Mail Box

Why Doesn't Rodgers Play Borini?

One Liverpool supporter thinks this could be Fabio Borini's year, whilst we also have thoughts on the Red Bulls, Welbeck vs Gervinho and Paul Lambert's new deal...

Could Arsenal Benefit From Top Four Exit?

That's one idea in the morning mailbox as the Arsene Wenger debate rumbles on. Plus, comparing Welbeck to Gervinho and some advice for Greg Dyke and the FA...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property