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Dublin: 0°C Friday 16 April 2021

Martin O'Neill confirms Harry Arter to take break from international football

The Cardiff midfielder was previously involved in an altercation with Roy Keane.

Martin O'Neill (file pic).
Martin O'Neill (file pic).
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND MANAGER MARTIN O’Neill has confirmed that midfielder Harry Arter is taking a break from international football.

The Cardiff midfielder, currently on loan at his club from Bournemouth, was omitted from the latest Ireland squad for the upcoming games against Wales and Poland.

“Harry’s not coming. He’s concentrating on his club football at the minute,” O’Neill said.

“He wants to get back on track. His club career has stalled at this moment.

“I think he has to clear his mind. He’s a very decent footballer.

“He had signed a long-term deal at Bournemouth and thought things were going to happen.

“If he clears his mind and is happy enough to come back, I don’t see why [he can't come back to the Ireland set-up].

Recent reports indicated Arter, along with Jon Walters, was involved in an altercation with assistant boss Roy Keane in camp during the summer friendlies with USA and France.

When asked whether Arter’s decision had anything to do with this dispute, O’Neill said: “It may be part of the reason, could well be. He’s got a number of things to consider.”

He continued: “I respect his decision. I don’t necessarily agree with it. I did tell Harry that if he had a fallout with management, I was the right person to talk to.

“I used to fall out with Mr [Brian] Clough, but we won European Cups.

“These things happen. I’ve been involved almost five years and have had one or two scrapes with my players here.”

O’Neill also said there was “not an ounce of truth” in speculation that the Arter-Walters-Keane altercation had anything to do with Declan Rice’s recent decision to consider switching international allegiance.

The Irish squad trained today at Abbotstown. Shane Duffy and David Meyler both sat out training with minor knocks, but the duo are expected to be available for Thursday’s Nations League clash in Cardiff.

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Paul Fennessy

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