Saturday 20 January 2018

New York No 1 still has Ireland future despite no-show -- King

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

NOEL King still believes that New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara has a future with Ireland despite his refusal to join up with the U-21 squad for the forthcoming matches against Denmark and Italy.

Meara was put under pressure by his employers to stay in America after it emerged that he was set to be included in King's panel for the friendly with the Danes in Tallaght on May 28 and the European Championship qualifier with Italy at the Showgrounds on June 4.

The 21-year-old has just broken through to the Red Bulls first XI and his boss, Hans Backe, publicly said that he didn't want his player to make the trip, even though his club have no games during the international period.

While Backe subsequently softened his stance, New York- born Meara opted against travelling after speaking to his family.

BLOW

King acknowledged that the United States may now be on Meara's trail, but insisted: "It's not a blow. Ryan has expressed an interest to play and has gone to the trouble of getting a passport.

"He considers himself pretty much Irish and he lives in an Irish community.

"I can understand the pressures that were involved. The manager has told Ryan that he feels he needs to rest."

King has taken a conciliatory approach towards Wolves' Matt Doherty, who angrily spoke out about his exclusion from the panel. "It's a good sign that he wants to play," said King.

Doherty, who is on loan from Wolves at Hibernian, is on a long standby list that includes rising League of Ireland stars Chris Forrester and Patrick McEleney.

King has handed a first call to Sunderland's John Egan and the latest Northern Ireland convert, Torquay's Eunan O'Kane.

U-19 pair Samir Carruthers (Aston Villa) and Sean Murray (Watford) are also included. They will link up with the squad for the Italian match after the U-19 European Championship elite qualifiers.

SQUAD -- McLoughlin (MK Dons), McCarey (Wolves), Connolly (Unattached ), Duffy (Everton), Cunningham (Man City), Canavan (Scunthorpe), Oyebanjo (York ), Egan (Sunderland), Hendrick (Derby), O'Kane (Torquay ), Towell (Celtic ), White (Leeds), Clifford (Chelsea), Carruthers (Aston Villa), Hourihane (Plymouth), Murray (Watford), Collins (Shrewsbury), Murphy (Arsenal), Doran (Inverness), Brady (Man Utd).

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