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Published: 08:58 | 24/2/16

O'Neill not ruling anyone out


Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill is refusing to rule anyone out of Euro 2016 but has warned it may take a lot of injuries for Damien Delaney to be included in the squad.

Delaney has not played for Ireland since 2014 and last August the 34-year-old released a statement looking to deny claims that he stepped away from the national team because he was not guaranteed a starting place.

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has indicated that the defender is ready to end his self-imposed exile but, while O'Neill is keeping his options open, he has warned he is far from guaranteed a place in the squad for the finals in France.

"The summer before last, when we had a trip to America, Damien played in the match before that, I think it was the Turkey game. I think Damien felt that he was never going to be a first choice at the time and declined to go to America," O'Neill told TV3.

"I mean that didn’t augur too well, whatever he says about it, he said that he would make himself available if he had a decent chance of getting into the squad, or into the team.

"I wasn’t in the position to actually make those decisions. I couldn’t guarantee anybody in the side. So we went our separate ways at that time.

"Don’t get me wrong, Damien’s had an excellent season with Crystal Palace, he is on the wrong side of 30, he hasn’t played that many competitive games for the Republic of Ireland through his career.

"But I have to say that the way that we are in terms of centre-halves, if we get a few more injuries, I certainly couldn’t rule out anything, particularly if players have an interest in playing as well."

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