Monday 18 February 2019

Peace talks between Roy Keane and Harry Arter fail to materialise as latest Ireland squad is set to be confirmed

Harry Arter and (inset) Roy Keane
Harry Arter and (inset) Roy Keane

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Harry Arter is not expected to be included in the Republic of Ireland squad named by manager Martin O'Neill on Thursday, after assistant manager Roy Keane failed to make attempts to bring the Cardiff midfielder back into the set-up.

Independent.ie broke the news last month that Arter had decided to away from the Ireland squad after Keane attacked him at the team hotel during the summer internationals.

After the Sunday World revealed details of Keane's attack on Arter, a WhatsApp audio message featuring the voice of Ireland defender Stephen Ward appeared to confirm details of the verbal attack offered that forced the midfielder to walk away.

Keane is believed to have questioned Arter's commitment to the Ireland cause in an expletive-laden rant that included suggestions the 28-year-old midfielder should have been training despite being advised to get treatment on an injury by FAI medical staff.

While O'Neill suggested he had been given a different version of events relating to the Arter row, the Ireland boss backed down from his initial suggestion that the player could have met up with the squad despite the fall-out as he hinted at a reconciliation between his assistant and one of the few Premier League midfielders currently available for an Ireland call-up.

"I think a reconciliation is a possibility," said O'Neill last month. "I am not absolutely and utterly convinced about my answer but I think it could happen. Certainly Roy is up for it."

Despite those optimistic comments, we understand that there has been no contact between the Ireland management team and Arter or his agent, which suggests he will not be included in O'Neill's squad for the crucial UEFA Nations League games against Denmark and Wales.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is also expected to be left out of the Ireland squad as he ponders switching his international allegiances to England, but O'Neill's midfield options likely to be boosted by the return to fitness of Stoke winger James McClean.

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