Friday 9 December 2016

'It's getting frighteningly close, I must admit' - Martin O'Neill expresses concern over Seamus Coleman

Published 27/04/2016 | 02:30

Everton's Seamus Coleman (Photo: PA Wire)
Everton's Seamus Coleman (Photo: PA Wire)

Martin O'Neill has admitted that he is sweating over the fitness of his players ahead of the Euros but he is hopeful that Seamus Coleman, Jon Walters and Shay Given will all be fit and available for selection.

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Coleman limped off with a hamstring problem in Everton's Premier League clash against Southampton two weeks ago and hasn't played since, while Walters underwent a minor operation on his knee last month.

Given (groin) was replaced at half-time for Stoke City last Saturday but O'Neill is hopeful about the fitness of all three.

"It's getting frighteningly close, I must admit," the Ireland manager said on TV3 last night.

"Seamus' injury will hopefully clear up in time and maybe with Everton being knocked out of the FA Cup ... I hate to use these words but with very little to play for until the end of the season they might go easy and not rush him back. Of course that's my hope rather than expectation.

"I think Jon's going to be okay, Shay made his way back again and then suddenly he picked up another groin strain.

Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill are plotting a course for Ireland’s Euro 2016 campaign. Photo: Sportsfile
Roy Keane and Martin O’Neill are plotting a course for Ireland’s Euro 2016 campaign. Photo: Sportsfile

"It's (selection) open because of his experience but he hasn't played for a little while, he got this news that he was going to be involved again and I think he was very excited about that, and now this has been a bit of a downer.

"But hopefully this won't last too long - as long as he gets a couple of games between now and the end of the season, at least I could have a fresh look at him."

O'Neill also revealed that Robbie Keane is back in full training with LA Galaxy following a knee injury but he remained adamant that he would "wait for the last possible moment to make sure he gets a couple of games played in the American league" before deciding on whether or not Ireland's record goalscorer will be included in his 23-man squad.

"I've said it before, a 27-year-old Robbie Keane would be first in line, he's getting on in years and obviously has to get fit again, but he's naturally fit and for a start that helps," he maintained.

Meanwhile, O'Neill, who has been linked to the Nottingham Forest job, said that he will be begin contract negations with the FAI "very shortly" and that both parties were "pretty relaxed".

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