Sport Soccer

Sunday 26 March 2017

O'Hara close to answering Ireland's call

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

WOLVES midfielder Jamie O'Hara has hinted that he is ready to fully commit his international future to Ireland.

The 24-year-old, who is on loan at Molineux from Spurs, has persistently been linked with a switch from England but had retained hope of breaking into Fabio Capello's squad after their capitulation at last summer's World Cup.

That message was conveyed to Giovanni Trapattoni, who had gone on record to state his admiration for the central midfielder.

In an interview with 'Talksport' yesterday morning, fresh from his goalscoring exploits for Wolves on Sunday, O'Hara gave a strong indication that he would be interested in hearing again from the Irish camp, although he didn't seem entirely sure that eligibility laws do allow him to switch nationality.

Having been capped up to U-21 level competitively with England, O'Hara was forbidden from changing his allegiance until FIFA relaxed their rules in 2009 to allow any individual to switch, at any age, provided they hadn't represented the original country at senior competitive level.

"I'm not sure what's going on," said O'Hara. "I'm not sure if I can play, I'm not 100pc on the situation.

"I've been injured for a while, so I haven't really thought about it, but it's something that if I got a phone call, then I'd have to have a think about it and discuss it with family."

Certainly, O'Hara is in an environment where he will be reminded of Irish matters on a regular basis, with manager Mick McCarthy, in addition to Kevin Doyle, Stephen Hunt, Kevin Foley and the uncapped Stephen Ward, all part of the large contingent at his current workplace.

O'Hara qualifies for Ireland through family from Wicklow and says they are in touch frequently, trying to use their powers of persuasion.

"All my family are Republic of Ireland," he said. "In Wicklow, I've got a big Irish family and they're always phoning me up saying, 'come and play for Ireland', but through the young stages I've always played for England, so I wouldn't want to be disrespectful and say I'd play for Ireland when I'm not 100pc.

"But now, if the opportunity was to come, I'm 24, I'm playing Premier League football hopefully on a regular basis, so if I get the phone call, it's something I'd look at."

Irish Independent

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