Harry Arter to make Bournemouth return this weekend as he seeks to earn place in Martin O'Neill's plans
Harry Arter looks set to return to action for Bournemouth this weekend, after recovering from the hamstring injury that ruled him out of the Republic of Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Moldova in recent days.
Arter picked up a hamstring injury in Bournemouth’s last Premier League game at Watford and was reluctant to risk aggravating the injury by playing for Ireland.
Despite his absence from the latest Ireland get-together, Arter turned out to be one of the main talking points for manager Martin O’Neill, amid speculation that the 26-year-old midfielder has been approached to consider switching his international allegiances to England.
Arter told the Sunday World last weekend that remained committed to the Ireland cause despite a stream of “vile” online abuse from Irish football fans criticising his potential decision to walk away from O’Neill’s squad.
Yet Arter’s loyalty to the Ireland cause will be tested if he continues to be overlooked for a place in O’Neill’s line-up, with Reading’s Steven Quinn and Hull’s David Meyler apparently ahead of him in the midfield pecking order despite his hugely impressive form in the Premier League this season.
Arter has yet to play a competitive international for Ireland and would therefore be allowed to play for England if they were to offer him a chance to launch an international career in different colours.
The 26-year-old will be hoping and probably expecting to play a prominent role in next month’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Austria, which could be crucial to Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.