FAI boss insists ‘Ireland is not a fallback option’

FAI boss insists ‘Ireland is not a fallback option’

IRELAND is no fall-back option for players who fail to make the grade with England, according to FAI Chief Executive John Delaney.

Speaking to The Irish Post, the FAI boss addressed the issue of second and third-generation players who may be open to the idea of playing for Ireland without being wholly committed.

The debate was put firmly on the agenda again after West Ham midfielder Mark Noble declared an interest in playing for the Republic after failing to be called up for England.

“We only want players who want to play for us,” Delaney said. “We are not in the habit of just picking up players along the way and trying them out. For every player you bring in, you are leaving a player out.

“You’ve got to remember the consequences of bringing someone in and if that player is only half-hearted or only using Ireland as a way of promoting themselves, well I’d prefer for us to pick the guy who is going to give their all for the country.

“We are not in the business of asking players to play for us who don’t want to commit to us. We want to be sure that when they come they want to play for our country.”

Mr Delaney was in the capital to attend the London Republic of Ireland Supporters Club 30th anniversary in the Crown Moran where he added that the FAI were serious about looking at second-generation players who held ambitions to play for Ireland, if they were of the same mind.

“It’s a question of, on a case by case basis, seeing if a player wants to declare for us,” he said. “Ultimately though, a player must want to play for us."

Read the full interview in this week's Irish Post