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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Walters blow for Irish boss

Jonathan Walters
Jonathan Walters

With Jonathan Walters now out of contention for the World Cup play-offs, should Ireland qualify, Martin O'Neill has told Shane Long that he needs to up his game if he is to end his goal famine.

Ahead of must-win games against Moldova and Wales, O'Neill has included uncapped forwards Scott Hogan, Sean Maguire and Aiden O 'Brien in his 32-man squad as Ireland - with two goals in the last four home qualifiers - struggle.

O'Neill confirmed that Walters "will probably miss the playoffs if we got there" due to a knee injury, while he hopes that Long - without a goal in 22 games - can find the net at last.

"Strikers are there to score goals and if you not scoring goals then definitely confidence wanes," O'Neill said of Long.

"You've got to get into the box, you've got to be able to hold it up. Look at the Serbian players who were able to do that. You've got to get yourself into a position to get a goal."    

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