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Damien Delaney may “swallow his pride” and make himself available for Ireland again, according to Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew.
34-year-old decided to retire from international football in August 2015,
stating that “the future of Irish football does not lie with me” after becoming
disheartened at the lack of game time he received, although he
insisted that he had no issue with either Ireland manager Martin O’Neill or his
assistant Roy Keane.
But Delaney’s club boss Pardew believes that the Corkman could be persuaded to reconsider his decision, especially with Marc Wilson and Ciaran Clark struggling for game time at Stoke City and Aston Villa respectively ahead of this summer’s European Championship finals in France.
“I think he would [reconsider his retirement],” Pardew told The Sunday Times.
“I think he is big enough and bold enough to swallow his pride and do the right thing.”
Pardew believes Delaney’s distribution from the back offers O’Neill something extra, should he return to the Ireland set-up.
"He has that balance of a left-foot delivery down the left-hand channel, Some of the top Premier league teams don’t have that luxury of having that type of quality from their centre-half," Pardew continued.
Delaney’s defensive partner Scott Dann also believes Delaney would answer Ireland’s call again, after cementing his place in the Palace starting eleven with a series of assured performances.
"I’m sure deep down he would want to play at the Euros," Dann said.
"He’s playing week in, week out, in the Premier League and he is playing well. He’s good enough to play for Ireland, he’s shown that. If he was asked the question, I know what the answer would be."