Saturday 22 October 2016

Harry Arter reveals how he was subjected to 'vile' messages from Irish fans over switch rumours

Published 09/10/2016 | 10:48

Harry Arter in action for Ireland
Harry Arter in action for Ireland

Republic of Ireland international Harry Arter has described how he was on the receiving end of some nasty messages from some Irish fans after rumours that he could play for England emerged.

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The Bournemouth midfielder has made three international appearances for Ireland but because none of them came in competitive fixtures, he is free to switch allegiance and play for the country of his birth.

The baseless speculation that Arter would throw his lot in with England was refuted by Martin O'Neill after Thursday's victory over Georgia but not before 26-year-old was targeted by online trolls.

Arter told the Sunday World's Kevin Palmer that the abuse was so malicious that he momentarily considered quitting the Irish team altogether.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," he said

"This was Irish people who had looked at a few newspaper stories and come to the conclusion that I was about to go and play for England. I never said that was happening and my stance on the whole story was that I didn't need to comment on something that was little more than a rumour.

"Then I see these Twitter messages and, honestly, it was the only time that I have ever had a thought that maybe I shouldn't play for Ireland. The messages were just vile. I was shocked by what people were sending my way. Honestly, I had to check that someone had not hacked my account and put a message on there to inspire this reaction.

"A lot of the messages have now been deleted, which says all you need to know bout the people that thought it was a good idea to write them in the first place."

Arter was unable to feature in this week's fixtures against Georgia and Moldova due to a groin injury.

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