O’Neill says Glenn Whelan will be skipper against North

Glenn Whelan will be given the honour of leading Ireland out against Northern Ireland in the friendly at the Aviva in November.

O’Neill says Glenn Whelan will be skipper against North

By Liam Mackey

Glenn Whelan will be given the honour of leading Ireland out against Northern Ireland in the friendly at the Aviva in November.

Although not included in the latest squad, the veteran will continue to make himself available for selection and, if required, Martin O’Neill won’t hesitate to call him in.

The manager yesterday clarified that the 34-year-old, who has been capped 83 times, “has not called time on things,” but, as was the case on what was John O’Shea’s final appearance for his country against the USA, the Aston Villa midfielder will be given the skipper’s armband against the North.

If he is needed he wouldn’t call time on it yet,” said O’Neill of the Dubliner’s international career.

“Regardless of what happens he will lead us out in November against Northern Ireland because of what he’s done for us. He is still in the provisional squad (for Wales and Poland) and if there are a couple of injuries here he has a bit of experience which might be necessary.”

Another familiar name missing from the latest squad is that of Aiden McGeady but, again, O’Neill said that this does not signify the end of the road for the Sunderland player.

“Aiden hasn’t played or even trained with the team long enough and you know what Aiden is like, he needs to get fit,” said O’Neill. “I would certainly not rule that out.”

Responding to a question about Matt Doherty’s frustration at not getting opportunities to play for Ireland under O’Neill before he was finally capped against Turkey in March, the manager replied: “I don’t know why Matt would be frustrated, in the sense that when I came into this job first, Matt Doherty was playing left back for Wolves, then they moved him to right back and it was only last year he ended up playing right midfield under that new system — and when I say right midfield I mean right wing back.

There is a fairly decent chance in that time that he wasn’t going to get in at right back ahead of Seamus (Coleman), and I thought that Cyrus Christie in an attacking sense would go that final bit and try to take someone on (whereas) sometimes Matt gets it and lays it back.

“There’s no doubt he has a good delivery and that he has improved, which is the most important thing and I am glad to see him doing well.

“With Matt there has been definite improvement and under the new manager (at Wolves) he is flourishing which is great.

“He’s part of our squad now and has to try and get in ahead of the likes of Seamus Coleman.”

Republic of Ireland provisional squad:

Colin Doyle (Hearts), Sean McDermott (Kristiansund BK), Kieran O’Hara (Macclesfield Town), Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie (Fulham), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), Kevin Long, Stephen Ward (Burnley), John Egan, Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), Greg Cunningham (Cardiff City), Alan Judge (Brentford), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Shaun Williams (Millwall), David Meyler (Reading), Harry Arter (Cardiff City), Daryl Horgan (Hibernian), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), James McClean (Stoke) Jonathan Walters (Burnley), Shane Long (Southampton), Graham Burke, Callum Robinson (Preston North End), Aiden O’Brien (Millwall).

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