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O'Neill hints he would be open to playing uncapped players in pivotal games

The Ireland boss has given hope to the inexperienced stars such as Sean Maguire and Scott Hogan.

Martin O'Neill pictured during today's press conference.
Martin O'Neill pictured during today's press conference.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND BOSS MARTIN O’Neill has challenged the newer members of the Ireland squad to seize the opportunity they have been handed ahead of the upcoming pivotal World Cup qualifiers.

Three uncapped strikers — Sean Maguire, Aiden O’Brien and Scott Hogan — were included in the Boys in Green’s finalised squad, with O’Neill’s men finding goals hard to come by in recent times, drawing a blank in their most recent fixture at home to Serbia.

Asked if there was a possibility a less experienced player could feature in the matches against Wales and Moldova, O’Neill said: “For the last three years, I think we have done nothing but have risk and reward. That’s exactly how we have gone about it. We have tried to risk everything to try to win some football matches and mostly, we have been successful.”

The 65-year-old Derry native did, however, suggest that the more experienced players were in the driving seat in terms of selection, and said it was up to the likes of Hogan and Maguire to show their worth in training sessions over the coming days.

“I don’t see why (they couldn’t feature)… We’ll see how the next couple of days go.

“Generally speaking if I know the players pretty well then a couple of days training beforehand is not a major concern but if I don’t and I think that there’s the possibility of somebody playing, then the couple of days training can be pretty important for me.”

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Paul Fennessy

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