Wednesday 17 January 2018

Striker Scott Hogan finally commits to Ireland after face-to-face meeting with Martin O’Neill

Aston Villa striker commits to green after meeting with O'Neill proves his interest

Scott Hogan has been called up to the Ireland squad for the final two World Cup qualifiers
Scott Hogan has been called up to the Ireland squad for the final two World Cup qualifiers
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Scott Hogan has finally decided to play international football for Ireland after face-to-face talks with Martin O'Neill.

The Aston Villa front man qualifies through his grandparents and has formally applied for his Irish passport.

There is only an outside chance that the paperwork will be completed for next month's World Cup qualifiers with Georgia and Serbia.

But O'Neill has indicated he would consider the 24-year-old if the formalities were completed in time after successful talks with the player who joined Villa from Brentford last January in a deal that could eventually be worth £15 million (€17m).

At that juncture, the Salford native appeared to be holding out for a possible England call but O'Neill is satisfied that the delay was not caused by Hogan himself.

He is convinced that the player is genuinely committed to the Irish idea and simply wanted time to adequately recover from long-term injury problems that have stalled his career.

"He's keen, he's very keen," said O'Neill yesterday, "I want the players to have a genuine enthusiasm for playing for the Republic of Ireland because I don't want to lose that.

"I think you'd want to see that there's a genuine feeling that 'I want to come, I want to play, I want to try and make the grade at international level and play for us'. That's all the encouragement I want.

"Scott is very enthusiastic about doing it. He's mentioned his reasons before and I think he felt he probably felt that he might not have been up to it at that stage because he might not have been fit enough. There seemed to be an impasse. There's no point in me going into that detail but it certainly wasn't from the player."

O'Neill had previously conducted discussions with Hogan's agent, rather than the player himself.

The Irish boss was speaking at the announcement of his 39-man long list for September with the inclusion of Preston striker Sean Maguire the main talking point before he delivered the Hogan update.

Irish Independent

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