Martin O’Neill rewards Gary Rogers with a call up
Ireland boss has no problem with allowing players out of camp to complete medicals
Dundalk’s goalkeeper Gary Rogers has been included in the Ireland squad. Photograph: EPA
Martin O’Neill says he abandoned a plan to invite several Dundalk players to train with the Ireland squad due to the club’s hectic schedule just now but goalkeeper Gary Rogers has been added to the squad for the games against Oman and Serbia.
Rogers will join up with the group and train with them for the rest of the week then return to Dundalk for the league game against Bohemians on Friday before flying out to Belgrade on Saturday afternoon. The 34 year-old will get back from Serbia in the early hours of Tuesday morning and then rejoin Dundalk for their game in Sligo that evening. “That might be a problem for him,” said O’Neill, “but if Dundalk have no objections...”
The call up comes after David Forde, who recently joined Portsmouth on a season long loan, opted to stay on at the club which has games against Yeovil and Crawley Town this week. “David has just joined a new club,” said O’Neill. “He is first choice at the minute. He feels that just at the moment that his first duty is to Portsmouth. They have some games during the break and he doesn’t want to give up that position. I agree with that sentiment and so he’s not with us.”
Rogers, meanwhile, may not be the only one to do a bit of coming and going over the next few days with Jeff Hendrick likely to have to return to England over the next 24 hours in order to complete his move away from Derby County, whether it is to Hull or Burnley.
Robbie Brady too may yet get the chance to leave Norwich and return to the Premier League - and O’Neill says that he has no objections to players sorting out their club careers as long as things have settled down by Thursday morning.
“Some of the players might leave to have medicals if there are opportunities at clubs,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with that. That’s just part things of this week. Hopefully it will all be cleared up on Thursday morning after which we can get completely focused on the Serbia game.”
Barring James McCarthy, who remains a doubt with a groin strain, O’Neill is still hopeful of having a full squad for that game although he says that John O’Shea and Seamus Coleman are likely to sit Wednesday’s friendly against Oman out.
The manager says that the game can provide a useful opportunity for the team: “We played them two years ago then went and got a really important win in Georgia,” he says, although he accepts that the game this time may best be remembered for providing the backdrop for Robbie Keane’s departure from the international stage.
Keane, he said, has a good chance of starting the game before, in reference to the striker’s standing in the international goalscoring charts, he joked: “Is he one behind Gerd Muller? Well, he’d better do it in the first 20 minutes of the game, otherwise he’s going to find time pressing.”
Shay Given may also make an appearance with the manager saying that he would like the goalkeeper’s contribution to be acknowledged too although he said that the Donegalman remained a little wary of “stealing anybody’s limelight”.