Saturday 16 December 2017

Plumping for Republic was 'easy decision' for long-term fan Wilson

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

CONSIDERING he played GAA in his youth with Aghagallon, always supported the Republic of Ireland, and is keen on a move to Celtic, you can understand why Marc Wilson feels that his decision over his international allegiance is no big deal.

Wilson, who could make his senior debut for Ireland as a substitute at the Emirates Stadium against Brazil this evening, is another that got away as far as Northern Ireland are concerned. In truth, the 22-year-old escaped their clutches a long time ago.

Capped by the North at U-15 level and once in an U-17 friendly -- the Republic tend not to make their first move for players in the province until they are 16 -- the defender who hails from outside Lurgan decided that his future lay down south.

Given that Darron Gibson and, most recently, Shane Duffy, made similar decisions, the debate in the North over the matter has intensified with the IFA contemplating the legal route.

Yet for Wilson, who has grown accustomed to controversy in his day-to-day life at Portsmouth this season, the situation was quite straightforward.


"It was an easy decision. They (the IFA) were in contact a long time ago, but not since then. It wasn't up for discussion. I've always supported the Republic of Ireland since I was growing up.

"The manager (Nigel Worthington) wants to have as many players in his squad as he can but I think if the player doesn't want to play, it's his decision. That's what it boils down to. The first time away with Ireland was in Sweden and I loved it. It felt right."

Content with his choice of country, Wilson faces a more pressing decision in the summer when it comes to choice of club.

The versatile defender, who spent time in the Manchester United school of excellence in his youth and sees himself as a holding midfielder in the long term, has benefited from the chaos at Fratton Park to become a first-team regular.

With that experience under his belt, he is now considered one of the ailing club's main assets -- something the administrators will be well aware of.

Celtic and Sunderland have expressed interest of late and Wilson admits that a move to the former would be of some interest. He is pragmatic enough to know that a move in the summer may be necessary.

"Everyone wants to play at the best level possible," adds Wilson, who hinted that Pompey team-mate Jamie O'Hara will join him in the Irish fold after discussions with FAI representatives.

Irish Independent

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