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

I

put Ince in my fantasy football team, so it's no surprise at all really. I do that to players. Also responsible for De Jong and Upson being injured. Think I'll transfer in Di Maria just to ruin United....

megabrow (cufc)
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

L

ovren? £20m always seemed a touch on the expensive side, but I wasn't expecting him to be quite such a waste of money

stevenjameshyde
F365's Top Ten Surprise Strugglers

H

alf of our players have the physical presence of a 14 year old girl. I don't know why people are always shocked that they're injured.

TheWhiz
Wenger baffled by injuries

Footer 365

Sky Bet Championship: Fulham thump Bolton, Huddersfield win at Wolves, Leeds held

Fulham thrashed Bolton 4-0 in the Championship, while Huddersfield won at Molineux to deny Wolves top spot.

Premier League: Sunderland boss Gus Poyet delighted Lee Cattermole stayed at club

Gus Poyet believes keeping Lee Cattermole was the best transfer decision he has made while at Sunderland.

Champions League: Liverpool out of sorts in 1-0 defeat at FC Basel

Liverpool paid the price for a disjointed performance as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to FC Basel in the Champions League.

Mail Box

It Was Better When City Were Rubbish

'I think I preferred it when we were s**t' says one City fan in the afternoon mailbox. There's a decent chat about the empty seats plus views on Liverpool and Roma...

Do City Really Need To Expand Their Stadium?

That's the question posed by one Man United fan in the mailbox after seeing the empty seats at the Etihad last night. Sadly, there isn't a single mail from a City supporter...

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