Ireland v Latvia Diary: Wickham won't pursue career with Ireland
CONNOR WICKHAM was mentioned as a possible recruit to the cause earlier this week, but that prospect was quashed by local media in England yesterday.
Wickham, who qualifies through his Ulster-born father Stefan, a former army officer, started his career at Ipswich under Roy Keane and then worked under Martin O'Neill at Sunderland.
The latter discussed his potential on Tuesday, but the 'East Anglian Daily Times' – who cover Ipswich extensively – have made contact with a source close to the striker, who confirmed that progressing to full senior honours with England remains his ambition.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
67 Caps won by Roy Keane in the course of his colourful Ireland career. Two members of this week's squad – John O'Shea and Robbie Keane – have more Irish appearances while Aiden McGeady (61) is not far off.
BAD NEWS FOR DOMESTIC PLAYERS AMID THE HYPE
IT is a sad reality of football in this part of the world that the excitement of this week has coincided with a number of League of Ireland players receiving the bad news that they won't be retained for 2014.
Shamrock Rovers announced the departure of nine players yesterday, including a quartet – Stephen Rice, Billy Dennehy, Conor McCormack and Ken Oman – that were prominently involved in their Europa League adventure two years ago. They had people in England talking when they gave Tottenham Hotspur a scare at White Hart Lane, with the scale of the away support commanding attention.
Shane Long went to training at West Brom the following morning and was asked if support levels in Ireland were like that all the time. It's a different reality that those players face this winter, although they should find new homes, with St Patrick's Athletic on the look-out for Oman, Rice and possibly McCormack.
The other Hoops players searching for a new club are David Elebert, James Chambers, Danny Ledwith, Conor Powell and Tommy Stewart.
RANDOM QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I prefer them not to be soft when they're stuck in water or something... you can tell him that"
Martin O'Neill on biscuits. The FAI advertised an online Q & A with their new manager which brought a wide and varied response, and Colin Loakman managed to get one of the burning issues of the day raised. "What's your favourite type of biscuit and will it play any part in your management of the team?" he asked. O'Neill, who presumably prefers to dunk into tea as opposed to water, dealt with the issue head-on with his above response.
OF THE DAY
There was only one direct example. Keane was about to stand up at the end of his daily newspaper session when, at the last minute, Saipan was mentioned. The context was Martin O'Neill's suggestion on Saturday that Keane got it wrong in 2002. "Martin is entitled to be wrong," said Keane, with a smile, before walking away.