Martin O'Neill confirms Jonathan Walters absence until 'transfer deadline is finished'
THE club future of Stoke’s Jon Walters will be resolved in the next 24 hours after the Ireland international was given permission to report late for international duty and stay in England so he can be available to finalise a move ahead of the transfer deadline.
Walters has failed to agree the conditions of a new contract with his employers and Norwich City are keen on bringing him to Carrow Road. His old boss Tony Pulis, who is now at West Brom, is also an admirer of the 31-year-old.
Ireland started life at their new base in Abbotstown this morning ahead of the Euro 2016 double header with Gibraltar and Georgia, and Martin O’Neill confirmed afterwards that Walters was absent because there might be movement today. The pair had decided there would be little sense in the attacker flying to Dublin and then having to fly out again at short notice.
“Johnny is only there because there may be something happening to him,” said O’Neill, “He wasn’t completely sure but there was little point in coming here for this morning and then maybe having to travel back.
“There may be something happening although he’s not terribly sure at this minute but while there is the possibility of something happening to him then I think it’s best that he sees it (from England) until the transfer deadline is finished.”
O’Neill said there is a possibility that other squad members could be the subject of late drama, with Everton’s Aiden McGeady linked with a loan switch. The Irish boss suggested that only permanent transfers would require a player to leave the camp.
“I will be prepared if somebody has to go at the last minute,” he said, “I think the loan system is one that I think if people are happy enough with medicals being done elsewhere, then it’s a matter of a fax machine.”
Newcomers Eunan O’Kane and Adam Rooney trained with the group today as they adjusted to life at FAI HQ with the evolving National Sports Campus now the home for big match preparations - a departure from the long term base in Malahide.
“Certainly for the players, it’s the first time they have seen it but I think they are impressed,” said O’Neill, “Eventually we will get used to it. Obviously with the headquarters in the background, this is what it was all about and what they had in mind quite some years ago so it’s come to fruition.
“Obviously there is still a bit of (building) work to do behind us here but the pitch is very very nice and the players have enjoyed it.”