'I'd rather play for Sierra Leone than Ireland' - Curtis Davies
Keane barbs put me off opting for Irish – Davies
Hull defender Curtis Davies says that he would rather play for Sierra Leone than represent Ireland and stressed that his dream is to be called up by England.
The 29-year-old has been on the FAI's radar due to an Irish-born grandparent, but he has firmly dismissed the idea ahead of his club's FA Cup semi-final with Sheffield United.
Davies' primary reason is that he feels no connection with Ireland and wants to represent his native England, yet he also pointed to his chequered relationship with Martin O'Neill and recent comments made by Roy Keane in his guise as an ITV pundit.
Keane poured scorn on Steve Bruce's suggestion that his centre-half could force his way into Roy Hodgson's squad for Brazil, saying: "This talk of him going to the World Cup is crazy; I think Brucie's maybe had a quick beer after the game. He's not at that level, but he's a very good player."
Those comments were noted by Davies, who was brought to Aston Villa by O'Neill before they fell out over his lack of first-team opportunities. He had some uncomplimentary things to say about the Derryman when he left the club.
"I had a Guinness once," said Davies, when asked about his Irish link. "My nan was born in Ireland, but she's not Irish, she's English. Her father was in the army and he was in Ireland when she was born. There's no heritage, but I do qualify.
"However, I'm not sure after Roy Keane's comments – am I good enough for Ireland? It didn't annoy me, but he's saying I'm not international quality.
"Does that mean he thinks I'm not good enough for Ireland? If he doesn't believe I'm good enough for England, then say England. Maybe it was a ploy to steer me away from England.
"It's well documented that O'Neill and I had problems at Villa. Is that really going to work? Do I really want to sell myself down the Irish route and then I've got an assistant manager who doesn't rate me and a manager who maybe there is a bit of ill-feeling with."
Davies has a large contingent of Irish team-mates with his current employers. Indeed, Bruce himself could have played for Ireland and his son Alex wore the green jersey before switching allegiance to Northern Ireland.
However, the experienced Londoner honestly admits that he feels stronger ties to Sierra Leone, as he still has family from his father's side living there.
"I'd never the shut door on anything," he continued, with a nod to Ireland. "But I'm striving my heart to get in the England squad and after that Sierra Leone is my next country.
"It would be difficult, but it would be a bigger option for me. The only thing is the African calendar and them playing African Nations in January.
"I'm not sure that would go down well with the gaffer, for me to go away for a month in January when we've got vital games in the Premier League. That's what's put me off it with them.
"I've not been (over there). My dad has only been back twice, unfortunately because of bereavements. I've had contact with them before but before I retire, if I haven't managed to live my dream and play for England, then I'll definitely consider going over and playing for Sierra Leone.
"I've got family over there. My grandad's still over there and my great uncle, people like that. If the African calendar was the same as the European calendar, it might have been an easier decision for me. I might have given up on England earlier, but I feel like I'm so close, but not close enough at the moment.
"I need unfortunate luck for someone else to get my luck. If I'm fifth or sixth choice for England, I don't know, so I'd need some very good luck to get in there."
HULL CITY V SHEFFIELD UNITED, LIVE, TOMORROW, BT SPORT 1, 4.07pm