Martin O'Neill 'not hopeful' of Scott Hogan declaring for Ireland and says Sean Maguire and Cillian Sheridan must wait
MARTIN O'Neill says he needs his experienced players for the upcoming internationals, including that vital World Cup tie at home to Austria, so potential international players like Sean Maguire and Cillian Sheridan will have to wait their turn.
And the trail for Aston Villa forward Scott Hogan appears to have gone cold as O'Neill admits he's "not hopeful" that the striker, who is eligible for Ireland but has not yet declared for the Republic, will get involved.
Manager O'Neill was in Dublin today to name a 37-man squad for the three games in June, with friendly matches against Mexico and Uruguay as preparation for the June 11th qualifier against the Austrians.
Uncapped players Matt Doherty (Wolves), Adam Rooney (Aberdeen), Liam Kelly (Reading), and Kevin Long (Burnley) were all included in the provisional squad, with James McCarthy included despite his recent injury woes, and Marc Wilson and Rob Elliot recalled.
O'Neill will begin preparations with a training camp in Cork next week, mainly for the players from Championship clubs while those who have lacked game time such as McCarthy and Darron Gibson will also train in Cork.
But there was again no place for the League of Ireland's top scorer Sean Maguire (Cork City) or Cillian Sheridan, whose six goals in 10 games have pushed Polish side Jagiellonia Bialystok close to their first-ever league title.
Sheridan's fixture list in Poland would force him to miss the friendly matches with Mexico and Uruguay but the Cavan native, last capped in 2010, still has some work to do before he makes the squad.
"He was in consideration, but other people are ahead of him at this moment," says O'Neill of Sheridan.
"I will keep monitoring Sean Maguire, as I will with other players who haven't made the squad. We are preparing for the games at this minute and it's good to see him do well but there are are other players in front of him.
"There's no reason why he can't make it, a couple of lads from the League of Ireland have made it before but there are players ahead of him, with experience as much as anything else, something we will need to draw on against Austria."
O'Neill is, however, pleased to give a recall to Marc Wilson, whose last international appearance was in August 2016. Wilson has won a place in the West Brom side, playing in their last two games after a miserable time with injury.
"He has had a really tough time, he has been out of the scene for some time," says O'Neill who had Wilson in the side in central defence for the start of his reign.
"He is going back, at club level, to a manager who knows him and and least he's getting himself involved. Fitness was an issue, he did well in the matches and if he'd had more game time he might have made it to France, he's a genuine lad and it's good to see him back."