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O'Neil brings in five new players to Republic of Ireland squad

O'Neil brings in five new players to Republic of Ireland squad

Players born on the island of Ireland have the right to represent either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland and can switch, as long as they have not already played in an official competition at senior global level for either country.

"Irish footballers in the north who are afforded the honour to represent their country should not be subjected to comments of this nature".

The 29-year-old made his Everton comeback in January and is now set for an global return in Antalya on 23 March.

"So they came as a bit of a surprise".

McClean, Darron Gibson and Shane Duffy all represented Northern Ireland at junior level before making their senior debuts for the Republic.

Michael O'Neill also declared that he wanted both associations to enter into a "gentleman's agreement" in relation to underage players, and while Republic manager O'Neill admitted that he had no problem having that conversation, he did stress the importance of the player's decision ultimately being respected.

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The comments sparked an angry backlash from Republic of Ireland supporters, and on Thursday Martin O'Neill questioned why religion had been brought in to commentary around player selection.

Martin O'Neill, the Republic of Ireland manager, has hinted that the summer friendly against the United States at Lansdowne Road could act as a send-off to a raft of retired players.

"But to actually talk about religion, to bring religion into it.I think that's something that you will have to ask Michael about. But I've had a conversation with him since and he has admitted that I have not taken a single player from him; in fact, quite the opposite, he's gone and I think he has taken Alex Bruce during my time but I've not taken one senior player at all". "I've no problem having a discussion".

Speaking to the online and broadcast media at a squad announcement today, Martin O'Neill responded by saying that he had a "problem" with his counterparts comments.

"Funnily enough I did meet him at a game quite recently, we were watching Fulham play". "He never mentioned these particular points". I wish he had.

"I would never take anything for granted".