Wednesday 17 January 2018

Meyler confident Hull loan stint can bolster his Ireland prospects

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

FOR Sunderland's David Meyler, a loan move to Hull City made perfect sense.

It offered the chance to team up with his former boss at the Stadium of Light, Steve Bruce, while the hectic schedule in the Championship at this time of year means there'll be plenty of game time on offer.

After making his debut for the Tigers as a substitute in the defeat at Cardiff last Saturday, the Cork man could play another nine games before he is due to return to Wearside at the turn of the year.

"(Martin O'Neill) wasn't too pushed on me leaving," Meyler revealed. "I sat down with my father and said I needed to go play some games. Then Martin said, 'Maybe you're right'. He didn't want to let me go. But eventually I twisted his arm."

Bruce is obviously a fan, having enquired about Meyler's availability in the summer, but the midfielder insists he hasn't considered the prospect of making the move permanent, while Sunderland have reserved the right to recall him should they suffer injuries over the busy festive period.

"I'll just be there until the start of January and I'll take that period first and then go back to Sunderland, push back into the fold there and try to play as many games as I can," Meyler said.

"The conversation I had with Martin O'Neill was for me to go and get games, get maybe eight or nine 90 minutes and then come back raring to go and push back into the Sunderland team."

Meyler's move bolsters the Irish contingent at the KC Stadium, where the presence of Paul McShane and Robbie Brady means Giovanni Trapattoni is likely to keep a close eye on Hull's progress.

Bruce's side sit in fourth place, five points off leaders Crystal Palace, with Meyler admitting that keeping in the Ireland manager's plans is at the forefront of his mind.

"It's massive. I need to play as many games as I can so that when these games come around I'm fresh and ready to play. The manager sees me playing games now and that's ideal," he said.

"I want to stay in this Ireland squad and that's part of (the reason behind) me playing some games with Hull.

"I've been out of it long enough so I don't want to be wasting any time not playing games."

After making his international debut against Oman in September, Meyler (below) was given a brief taste of competitive action when introduced late in the World Cup qualifier win over the Faroe Islands.

He might have had more caps, but two serious knee injuries have hampered the 23-year-old's development since Roy Keane snapped him up from Cork City in 2008. However, he believes those worries are now behind him.

"I'm probably at 80 or 90pc in terms of my own fitness, but it's just about getting one or two games and that's why it will be good at Hull, because it will be Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday and I'll get as many games into me as I can."

Before that, he could make his home international debut in tomorrow night's friendly against Greece.

But with Trapattoni speaking in glowing terms about James McCarthy yesterday and with Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews still ahead of him in the queue, Meyler is vying for a place in one of the most competitive areas of the side.

"I believe in myself and my own ability and that I am good enough," he said. It's up to me, not anybody else. I have to make the manager make that decision and you can only do that in training and games. And whether it's at Hull or back at Sunderland, that's how I will force myself into the team."

Irish Independent

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