Monday 21 January 2019

Noble isclose todecision

MARK Noble has not ruled out throwing in his lot as an international footballer with Ireland despite his clear disappointment at not making the latest England squad.

With Martin O'Neill's plans for midfield in Georgia already upset by the withdrawal of Jeff Hendrick, a player like Noble could have been useful this week.

Unlike Spurs starlet Harry Kane who ended speculation about his future on Saturday and won't be looking for an Irish passport, Noble left the door open.

"I've been around a while but I'm still only 27 and midfielders don't peak until their late 20s, early 30s," he said.

"You never know in football, it's a strange game. Hopefully, I'll make a decision in the next couple of weeks. There's been a lot of speculation over the last week.

"I'm disappointed not to be involved with England as it's the pinnacle of every English boy's career to get picked for England," said Noble who has not spoken with O'Neill yet.

"Not personally, my agent has spoken to him. I've not really thought about it (playing for Ireland)."

Asked whether he thought it would be odd to pull on a green shirt after waiting so long for England, he said; "A little bit, yeah, only because I captained England U21s in the finals of the European U21 Championships, against an amazing German team that's just won the World Cup."

Hendrick was forced to withdraw after he suffered a nasty shoulder injury on Saturday, a bruising day for O'Neill and several Irish players.

Stephen Kelly and Hendrick are both out because of injury and Andy Reid has been withdrawn from the squad to stay in Nottingham for medical treatment.

Robbie Keane's fitness is a minor worry for O'Neill while Darren Randolph, Ciaran Clark, Paul McShane, Shane Duffy, Damien Delaney, Simon Cox and Conor Sammon remain on standby.

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