Thursday 27 October 2016

Roy Keane responds to the 'Harry Arter for England' suggestions

Published 04/10/2016 | 14:46

He is arguably the most in-form Irish player at the moment but unfortunately it looks like Harry Arter's competitive debut is to be delayed yet again.

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Arter has been hugely impressive for Bournemouth in the Premier League this season, putting in a series of combative and assured performances in midfield.

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That has been a troubled area for Ireland over the last number of years, with the team's inability to keep the ball for long spells putting them under immense pressure against the top teams.

Arter could be the solution to that problem, but Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane today confirmed that he is almost certainly not going to feature against either Georgia or Moldova after picking up a groin injury.

"The medical staff is in contact with his club but it doesn't look too good," Keane said.

"It is a shame because he is an important player for us and he has been unlucky with one or two injuries lately going back to before the Euros. Fingers crossed he will be fit in the next week or two but not in time for our games."

Arter has made two appearances for Ireland - both coming in friendlies - meaning that he could theoretically still declare for England, the country of his birth.

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That idea got a bit of traction last week when Sky pundits Jeff Stelling and Paul Merson - seemingly oblivious to the fact that Arter has been capped for Ireland - questioned why he wasn't in the England squad.

Their conversation was put to Keane at today's press conference but he reiterated his belief that Arter is 'committed' to Ireland.

"Maybe so," Keane said with a wry smile when told that some pundits believe Arter 'should be playing for England'.

"We are delighted to have him on board but he is committed to us and it is unfortunate that he has missed one or two games through injury."

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