Wednesday 20 March 2019

Meyler and O'Neill open up on their training ground row in aftermath of Cardiff loss

Martin O’Neill sitting alongside David Meyler at yesterday’s press conference. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Martin O’Neill sitting alongside David Meyler at yesterday’s press conference. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Daniel McDonnell in Wroclaw

David Meyler has admitted that his disappointment at his omission from the Ireland side led to a training ground row with Martin O'Neill in Cardiff on Friday.

The source for this story coming into the public domain was O'Neill himself who chose to make it public as he dealt with the continuing fallout of assistant manager Roy Keane's summer run-ins with Harry Arter and Jonathan Walters.

With Seamus Coleman out of the game, Meyler was brought in for the pre-match press conference and O'Neill used his disagreement with the Corkman in an attempt to make the point that these things happen.

However, he also indicated that Meyler was strong enough to deal with the public dressing down - and the use of 'industrial' language - which was perhaps a pointed comment in its own way.

O'Neill was irked by the player's attitude in training on the Friday and felt it was related to his omission from the Wales game and Meyler did not deny it.

"I was frustrated that I hadn't played, the manager is correct in what he said. I hadn't trained brilliantly," said Meyler, whose new club Reading are bottom of the Championship.

"My emotions were sky high, the manner in which the game went, and not playing. First and foremost you're a fan of your country's team and they are all my friends playing.

"The manager said some things to me, yeah, but first and foremost you do have to look at yourself in the mirror. Is my club form good enough? No. Are Reading in a bad situation? Yes they are.

"First and foremost I need to address myself, which I respect. He was right. At the time I was upset and annoyed. You do seem to see that he was correct."

O'Neill added: "He didn't train brilliantly and he's very, very good training but he didn't train well. When I asked him he said he was disappointed at being left out of the team and I said you have to do a wee bit more at club level.

"I have the utmost regard for him as a person. I might have a difference of opinion on his ability, that's not the point. For him to take the criticism I gave him in front of the rest of the team was extremely strong. He's a really strong person.

"I think the great players can sometimes take a bit of criticism but I have seen that change throughout the years."

Before he delved into his own row, Meyler had entertained the Polish media by dealing with a question on his former Hull colleague Kamil Grosicki, who is out of their national team at the moment.

Meyler complimented Grosicki before going on to state that he actually had problems with his attitude and needed to work harder, comments that were furiously scribbled by the locals.

However, Ireland's discipline was the major talking point and Meyler did express some sympathy with Stephen Ward after his private WhatsApp audio message ended up in the public domain.

Meyler was part of the summer gathering and insisted he had no knowledge of the details.

"Look, it's very difficult because he (Ward) has trusted someone with something, it's obviously disappointing that it has got out there," said Meyler.

"I was training at the time, I don't know what was said or happened. I wasn't there and I can't speak on behalf of Stephen, I can't speak on behalf of Harry or Jon.

"I don't know, you hear different things, I imagine all of ye lads have heard four or five different versions but no one knows really what happened."

Irish Independent

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