Michael O'Neill makes huge claim about Football Association of Ireland

2018-03-06 18:46:10

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill has claimed the Football Association of Ireland targets Catholic players to switch allegiance and play for the Republic.

Players born in Northern Ireland are eligible to represent the Republic and O'Neill, who recently penned a contract extension with the Irish Football Association, is peeved at losing potential future senior internationals to the nation south of the border.

James McClean, Shane Duffy, Darron Gibson, Eunan O'Kane and Marc Wilson - senior internationals with Martin O'Neill's Republic side - all represented Northern Ireland at youth level before they transferred.

And Michael O'Neill has decried the situation by criticising the FAI's approach.

In an interview with the Irish Daily Mail, the Northern Irish boss, who is Catholic himself, said: "The FAI only ever approach one type of player: Catholic.

"I don't have a problem with James McClean. He was 22 years of age, he knew what he wanted. I have a problem when it's a 16, 17 or 18-year-old having to make a decision on his international future.

"What is the point of asking a player to change his allegiance, to make a decision about his whole international future, and then not pick him?

"Daniel Devine of Partick Thistle is a West Belfast boy and would have gone to the Euros with us. Only he can't play for Northern Ireland as he's signed an international transfer. I can list you 10 players who've made that decision and have never represented the Republic."

O'Neill went on to add he did not fear Paul Smyth, a Northern Ireland Under-21 international who scored on his QPR debut in January, would switch to the Republic ahead of an expected senior call-up later this year.

However, he intends to speak with his Republic counterpart Martin O'Neill - himself a former Northern Ireland international - about the situation.

"I hope that Martin and I can get some sort of gentleman's agreement whereby if a young boy has represented Northern Ireland at aged 17 to 21, the FAI don't ask him to change," Michael O'Neill added.

Northern Ireland will meet the Republic of Ireland in a Dublin friendly in November.

Press Association Sport has contacted the FAI for comment.

Related News

The remastered version of Spider-Man on PS5 won’t let you carry over your PS4 saves

Check out these League of Legends jerseys designed by Heron Preston

6 S3x Positions That Could Leave You With A Broken Pen!S

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo And Wife Welcome Their First Grandchild

BBNaija: Laycon's management call for prayers over death threats from Erica’s fans

Other Album