Friday 26 May 2017

Wilson rules out switching allegiance back to the North

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

MARC WILSON has told Michael O'Neill he would be wasting his time if he tried to convince the Stoke man to commit his international future to Northern Ireland.

The new Northern Ireland boss stated last week that he would be keen to target any player who was still eligible for selection, including those who had been lost to the FAI but haven't yet lined out for the Republic in a competitive fixture.

Sunderland new boy James McClean has already been contacted by O'Neill but stressed that he wasn't for turning.

The versatile Wilson has heard nothing from Nigel Worthington's successor, yet has no intention of changing his mind despite falling out of Giovanni Trapattoni's plans.

The 24-year-old won a solitary cap against Wales last February and failed to report for duty in the summer despite being named by Trapattoni in the starting XI for the Carling Nations Cup meeting with Northern Ireland. He was still drafted in for the August friendly with Croatia but has been exiled since after pulling out of that game through injury.

Although predominantly used as a left-back by Stoke, Wilson (above) is effective in a number of positions and remains hopeful of receiving a call for Euro 2012. However, the Antrim man says that he is staying with Ireland whatever happens this summer.

"I have always seen myself as a Republic of Ireland player," said Wilson, who represented the North at U-15 level before switching.

"I supported them when I was growing up and if I have to continue to bide my time, and wait for my chance to come along, I am happy to do that.

"The players and gaffer have done a great job there so I can't complain about it, really. I would love to play for them though, one day, and have made that clear a number of times.

"Hopefully, my time will come in the future. I would love to be part of the squad for the European finals, but if that doesn't happen, I will try and work hard here and try to earn a spot in the Ireland team.

"There is no way I would switch to Northern Ireland now," he continued. "I made the decision a few years ago without having my head turned by anybody and I am sticking with that. It is something I'm comfortable with."

Wilson will have a good idea of where he stands with Trapattoni next month when the Italian names his squad for the February 29 friendly with the Czech Republic. McClean has been tipped for a call-up, and Wilson would need to make the extended panel for that game if he's to have a chance of making the final cut for Poland.

Irish Independent

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