Sport Soccer

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Andrews keen to catch eye of O'Neill and get back with 'unlikely lads'

Keith Andrews, Republic of Ireland
Keith Andrews, Republic of Ireland

Garry Doyle

Keith Andrews has reminded Martin O'Neill that he is not prepared to slip quietly away and retire from international football.

Having spent nearly two years in exile, after a loss of form and series of Achilles injuries saw him fall out of favour with O'Neill's predecessor Giovanni Trapattoni, Andrews has faded into the background.

He spent last season on loan at Brighton and clearly didn't do enough to persuade O'Neill he was worth selecting for these end-of-season friendly internationals.

Yet he isn't prepared to make a big deal of his hardship, stressing that his availability – unlike Stephen Ireland's – comes without any terms and conditions attached.

"My status is fairly simple," said Andrews. "I have not retired and will never retire once there is an opportunity to play for my country. If that opportunity came around again, then I would jump at it.

"I have not played purely because I have not been picked. You can only affect your club form. That's what I focused on with Brighton last year and I played fairly well there.

"If you're not getting picked there's not a lot you can do about it. That said, I certainly won't be coming out and saying I'm retiring. There is no chance of that.

"I'm sure Martin O'Neill knows I'm available. I'm not one of those people who says 'I'll think about it after the summer' or 'I'm not ready for this game yet'. I won't come out with that type of crap."

Yet the chances of a recall seem slim as Andrews revealed there has been no communication with O'Neill. "I don't know what the manager is thinking because I have not spoken to him," he said. "I still think I could fill a role in the team.

"I also understand he has a couple of midfielders that look cemented in his plans. He has got Darron Gibson coming back, Paul Green, Jeff Hendrick and Glenn Whelan. I still feel I have something to offer, though."

"We know the style of play we had (under Trap) wasn't pretty but we were very successful over a four-year period in those two campaigns. They were great moments. When we went to Liege for that friendly against Italy in 2011, the Italians were there with their slick suits and ray-bans and we trudged up in our scruffy tracksuits. We were the unlikely lads, yet we beat them that night."

Irish Independent

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