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Thursday 8 December 2016

Outcast Westwood to fight for Euro place

9 October 2014; Republic of Ireland's Keiren Westwood during squad training ahead of their UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, game against Gibraltar on Saturday. Republic of Ireland Squad Training, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
9 October 2014; Republic of Ireland's Keiren Westwood during squad training ahead of their UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifer, Group D, game against Gibraltar on Saturday. Republic of Ireland Squad Training, Gannon Park, Malahide, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Keiren Westwood says he has no gripes with Martin O'Neill over the manner in which he has fallen down the pecking order with Ireland, but the keeper insists he wants to fight for his place in the Euro 2016 squad.

Having replaced Shay Given as Ireland's No 1 following Euro 2012, Westwood then lost the shirt to David Forde. Westwood was picked to start in goal in Martin O'Neill's first game in charge, at home to Latvia, but he failed to make an appearance in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and, while he has battled with injury, his attendance record for Ireland duty is less than impressive and the Sheffield Wednesday man is not guaranteed a place in the squad for the finals.

"It has been really frustrating because of the injuries. It has been a real shame. I would love to be involved but it is up to the manager. He picks his squad and who he thinks is the best," says Westwood.

"I am not one for knocking on a manager's door and saying this, that and the other. The manager picks his team and he has been vindicated because we got to France.

"There is no gripe from me. He [O'Neill] makes the decisions and we have qualified so I am as delighted as much as the next man. I want to be playing as much as I can between now and the end of the season to get into his thoughts to be in the final squad.

"There is a big togetherness in the squad and we are looking forward to the Euros."

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