Tuesday 20 February 2018

Roy Keane: Harry Arter has a role to play in Republic of Ireland's future

Harry Arter
Harry Arter

Roy Keane has backed Harry Arter to bounce back from his Euro 2016 disappointment to enjoy a bright international career with the Republic of Ireland.

The 26-year-old Bournemouth midfielder may never know how close he came to making Martin O'Neill's 23-man squad for the finals after suffering a thigh injury on the eve of Tuesday night's last warm-up game against Belarus.

That was enough to rule him out of contention, with the Republic already worrying about the fitness of skipper Robbie Keane and midfielder James McCarthy.

But assistant manager Keane is confident Arter will be back.

He said: "There are only so many players you can bring with you who are carrying knocks - and I think Harry's is more than a knock.

"It's disappointing, but Harry is a young player and it's only a matter of time that he is back in the group for the next campaign.

"Anyone here who has played sport, injuries are part and parcel of the game and we had no control over that.

"I've seen him play at club level and he is a good player who can deal with the ball, which really helps in international football because you do get a bit of time. But he'll be back. It's not the end of the world for him."

Arter may have a role to play in the World Cup qualifying campaign which gets under way in September, and he could be joined at some point in the future by Callum O'Dowda, who so impressed the management team during his time with the squad that he has stayed on to continue to train with the remaining 23.

The 21-year-old midfielder, who played his part in Oxford's promotion from League Two during the season which has just finished, made his international debut as a substitute in the 2-1 defeat by Belarus and impressed on a night when not too many others did.

Keane said: "He's a nice kid and he's got a nice way about him. We've previously seen him with the Under-21s, but it's good to get a close look at him.

"He's a confident lad, he has had a good season at club level and it was good to get him on because it's good to work with young players who have not been brainwashed yet."

Press Association

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