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Friday 15 December 2017

Harry still game for Euros as injury forces Cherries man to rest up

The Republic of Ireland’s Harry Arter has an Achilles injury. Photo: Sportsfile
The Republic of Ireland’s Harry Arter has an Achilles injury. Photo: Sportsfile

Harry Arter says he still plans to make Ireland's Euro 2016 squad even though he's been forced to miss his big auditions against Switzerland and Slovakia this week.

The Bournemouth midfielder, and Ireland boss Martin O'Neill, have both been bitterly disappointed at how the international season has panned out. Arter made his senior debut against England last summer, but an injury picked up in pre-season forced him to miss the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and he has yet to play in a competitive international.

Both O'Neill and Roy Keane are big fans of Arter and the player was guaranteed a starting role in one of the friendly games against Switzerland (tomorrow) and Slovakia (Tuesday). He reported to Dublin for assessment but, as he was carrying an injury which forced him off at half time in the Cherries' weekend game, he returned to his club and will not be fit.

He has played down fears about a long-term injury and says his Achilles problem needs rest, though that now leaves him with only the May friendly against Holland to impress O'Neill on the Ireland stage, so he hopes that club form can win him a place in the 23-man squad for France.

"I think for any player with an outside chance of being in the squad, for anyone, the most important thing is not to think too much about it," Arter told Newstalk.

"The bread and the butter is the club football and if they are performing there, I know it sounds a bit of a cliché, but if you are performing well at club level that will give you the best chance to earn recognition. My goals are to get fit, get back in the Bournemouth team and try and do as well as I can and then if I'm given a chance in the Dutch game or in training or if I get the chance to meet up again then I will do as well as I can to impress," he added, explaining that O'Neill agreed with his decision to go back to his club.

"It's a slight Achilles problem - one of those injuries where I just have to have a little bit of rest, rather than pushing through it. Looking at the bigger picture, if I didn't rest now, I'd get to the point later in the season where I would have to, so to give myself the opportunity to finish strongly and try and get recognition for the Euros, it was the best decision to stop.

"It's a different (injury) from the start of season which in hindsight is a good thing. It's pretty straightforward, a tendonitis sort of thing, I played 20 games on the bounce from November so it's probably just a little too much from where I was out at the start of the season, from five months from May to November.

"It may have caught up with me, it's nothing long-term. I spoke to Martin and the Irish doctor and it seemed the wisest thing to do was to get rest now and get it 100pc right."

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