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Damien Delaney insists he has no issue with Roy Keane, appears to call time on Ireland career

A strongly worded and heartfelt response from the Crystal Palace defender.

Delaney continues to be overlooked despite strong performances for Palace.
Delaney continues to be overlooked despite strong performances for Palace.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DAMIEN DELANEY HAS effectively announced his retirement from international football after the Crystal Palace defender was left out of the Ireland squad for next month’s Euro 2016 Qualifiers.

In a statement released on his Instagram account this afternoon, Delaney responded to claims he’d been overlooked for the games against Gibraltar and Georgia because there are differences between himself and assistant manager Roy Keane.

The 34-year-old, who has played just 65 minutes of football under Martin O’Neill, denied that his omission was down to his relationship with Keane and that he now sees the international break ‘as a chance to recover.’

“I just want to clarify my position with regards to the Ireland national team and my omission from the current squad,” the statement read.

“I have no issue with Roy Keane and shook his hand this summer at a Cork City European match.

“I know that at the age of 34 the future of Irish football does not lie with me, the rigours of premier league football and the 24/7 dedication required takes its toll so I look on the international break as a chance to recover.

When asked about Delaney’s exclusion from his 37-man squad for September’s double-header, O’Neill appeared to close the door for the Corkman’s return and said he wouldn’t ‘come back to play if he was not guaranteed playing in the side.’

Delaney hit back at those claims, maintaining that he never spoke to O’Neill about a regular starting position.

“That said I spoke to Martin O Neill and contrary to his recent comments I never asked for a regular starting position.

Damien Delaney Delaney's last appearance in green came against Turkey last year. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“I did however disagree with certain aspects which out of respect to Martin and the national team will remain private. Ireland need to plan for the long term even if it means sacrificing one maybe two major tournaments.”

Along with Ciaran Clark, Delaney is the only Irish centre-back playing regular Premier League football yet Greg Cunnigham, currently plying his trade in the Championship with Preston, was handed a recall from the international wilderness.

With Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for Euro 2016 hanging by a thread after an underwhelming campaign to date, Delaney clearly indicated that he felt Irish football is currently heading in the wrong direction under the current management.

Furthermore, Delaney praised former manager Giovanni Trapattoni – who he made his debut under – and said Ireland need to ‘build an identity and team ethos from schoolboy football to full international that will last.’

“We need to build an identity and team ethos from schoolboy football to full international that will last. I understand people weren’t enamoured with Mr. Trapattoni but whether you agreed with his philosophy or not you have to respect the man and the results he achieved with his philosophy.

“There are many footballing philosophies and we need to choose one that suits Irish traits and strengths best, similar to what Wales are now achieving or what Mr. Trapattoni achieved in his time in charge.

“I’ll always be an ardent supporter and wish I could of contributed more… #coybig #identity.”

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Ryan Bailey

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