Monday 11 December 2017

Unlucky James McClean sent for ankle scan


JAMES McClean fired his shirt into the dugout at Gannon Park in disgust. The heavy strapping on his ankle told it's own story and Martin O'Neill confirmed the bad news.

"He's gone for a precautionary scan, He was feeling his ankle after training yesterday so he tried it in the morning and he was still feeling a little bit sore. Plenty of time yet, we think. It's just that James doesn't usually complain about things. We'll find out," said the Ireland boss.

"Training is going to be competitive with players playing for positions and we might run into one or two problems. Hopefully not. That's the nature of the game."

O'Neill was asked about Jack Grealish's presence at the FAI/SWAI awards last weekend and he welcomed what appears to be a positive move by the Aston Villa prospect.

"It was nice for him to take the award and invite his mother and father and a relative from Kerry. That was really encouraging. The decision will be up to him in the end, naturally. Whether his father is an influence in proceedings, I really don't know. I've left it with them. If they decide this is what they want to do, I'd be delighted," he said.

O'Neill reported no further injury scares but has all but ruled Stephen Ward out of the tussle with Poland.

"Stephen went for a scan. There's a few days yet. He would like to get it sorted out so that he could have a few days training. If the game was tomorrow it would be a struggle," said the Ireland manager.

O'Neill was suitably impressed with Harry Arter's first full training run with his new international team-mates.

"Harry's Harry. He's had an exceptional season. He's a very decent player. I don't think he knows too many of the players so it was nice to get that done. He's done fine, He's fitted in nicely," he said.

Robbie Keane arrived from Los Angeles with his customary burst of energy, a feature of his personality which O'Neill acknowledges and cherishes.

"I have to say, Robbie's enthusiasm....." said O'Neill, his voice trailing away. "You can't do anything in this game without enthusiasm. Enthusiasm will carry you a long way. Alex Ferguson has talked about it."

"The enthusiasm to get up and do it again. My advice is stay with it. Play as long as you can. You're a long time out of it."

"The season has just started (for Keane)., I'm hoping that that freshness, that vibrancy that he will possess at this time will carry him through."

O'Neill is happy that his players are in the right frame of mind for a big effort against Poland: "The players are up and they are ready to go. There's a great enthusiasm about them. Some are in flying form and others with trials and tribulations at club level. But just think of the game ahead. Leave the club for a week and concentrate on the game ahead."

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