Sunday 27 May 2018

No deal for Irish gem Callum

Callum O'Dowda is not for sale.
Callum O'Dowda is not for sale.

League One side Oxford United have insisted that new Ireland cap Callum O'Dowda is not for sale.

Interest in the midfielder has been stepped up since O'Dowda was promoted to the senior Ireland squad from the U21s at the end of last season, O'Dowda winning a senior cap in the defeat to Belarus, and the player is likely to be in Martin O'Neill's thoughts when the World Cup qualifying campaign starts in September.

It has been pointed out that playing at the level of England's third tier could cause problems for O'Dowda and he has been linked with a move away. The fact that O'Dowda did not travel to Spain for a pre-season training camp with Oxford this week increased speculation about a move - but the club insist that his absence is de to illness and they do not want to lose the highly-rated midfielder.

"Even as recently as yesterday I spoke to him about building a team around him. From my point of view it's very clear - we don't want to sell Callum," says United boss Michael Appleton.

"We thought he had a good season last year, he came to the fore and got better the longer the season went on.

"It culminated in picking up an international appearance, which was great for everybody. We're looking forward to him being a big part of our League One push this year," added Appleton.

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