Soccer

Friday 25 July 2014

Dunne's crunch Ireland talks

QPR defender ponders future as McGeady to sign for Everton

Daniel McDonnell

Published 06/12/2013|00:01

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Richard Dunne

RICHARD DUNNE is planning face-to-face talks with Martin O'Neill to determine if he has a future with Ireland.

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The 34-year-old is keen to prolong his international career but is conscious that his age may count against him as O'Neill builds towards the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Dunne, who missed all of last season with injury, has performed strongly with new club QPR and feels that his body is in good condition. However, he has conceded that it may be difficult to plan as far ahead as 2016.

"I'll have a chat with the manager and see what his plans are. I don't know if he wants me or if they want to go with someone else," said Dunne. "I would love to be involved in another major tournament, but I might not even be playing club football then.

"I had him (O'Neill) for a season at Aston Villa. I really enjoyed working with him and I'm sure he's going to do a great job. We're second seeds in the draw for the Euros, so there's a good chance we'll qualify for another tournament."

Dunne missed O'Neill's opening double-header as a precaution with a view to long-term treatment of a recurring groin problem.

"The thought was that I would miss November but would come back for the Serbia game in March and by that stage of the season we'll know where we are at QPR," he said. "Playing for your country is a real honour and something that you can't pass up on. As long as I'm picked I would love to keep on playing."

Meanwhile, O'Neill is set to take in three games this weekend as he continues to educate himself about the players at his disposal.

And the Ireland management team could soon be adding Aiden McGeady to their watch-list, with the Spartak Moscow midfielder set to sign a pre-contract agreement with Everton.

The Ireland boss, however, will start off at tomorrow's Championship meeting of Millwall and Wigan to check up on the hosts' in-demand 'keeper David Forde and the visitors' James McClean.

He will also take the opportunity to have a look at young striker Will Keane, who is on loan at Wigan from Manchester United. Keane, who has an Irish father, has represented England at underage level but can still declare for Ireland.

His brother Michael – currently on loan at Derby County from United – lined out for Ireland at U-17 level before switching back to England, which is a binding decision under FIFA criteria.

On Sunday, O'Neill will be at the Emirates to watch James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman lock horns with leaders Arsenal after contributing to Everton's Old Trafford heroics on Wednesday night.

The Derry man is then planning to travel to Monday night's Swansea-Hull encounter, to monitor the Tigers' Irish contingent.

Hull centre-half Curtis Davies is another player eligible to represent Ireland, although he was strongly critical of O'Neill after they worked together at Aston Villa.

O'Neill has been given a list of players that could switch allegiance, including West Ham's Mark Noble, whom he saw in action this week, but no approaches have been made at this juncture. Noble said in October that he was aiming to force his way into Roy Hodgson's England World Cup squad.

Meanwhile, assistant manager Roy Keane will be at the Hawthorns to see Shane Long's West Brom take on Wes Hoolahan's Norwich.

Everton are planning to sign former Celtic winger McGeady on a pre-contract agreement this January, enabling him to move to Goodison Park on a free Bosman transfer next summer.

McGeady (27) is looking for a move to the Premier League after falling out with the management at Spartak Moscow.

Irish Independent

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