O'Brien considers Irish future
Joey O'Brien has admitted he may turn his back on the Republic of Ireland.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 26/10/08 8:25pm
Bolton's Joey O'Brien may turn his back on the Republic of Ireland after failing to force his way into Giovanni Trapattoni's plans.
The 22-year-old has won three caps for his country but has not featured under Trapattoni, his last international appearance coming 12 months ago against Cyrpus.
The Dubliner is dismayed at slipping down the pecking order under the Italian coach and does not want to merely make up the numbers in the Republic squad.
"I love playing for my country, love meeting up and I have great friends," he told the Irish Sunday Mirror.
"But I don't like walking around in a tracksuit saying, 'I play for Ireland'. I'm like a fan in a tracksuit.
"I'm gutted about the whole thing. The manager is the manager and he's a great manager, but I'm not in his plans."
Trapattoni had a host of injuries for the World Cup qualifier against Cyprus earlier this month yet he still did not call upon the services of O'Brien.
"When you look at the team that played against Cyprus, it proved to me how far down the list I was in the dressing room," he added.
"Look at the right-back or centre midfield positions where I play - we were missing the first and second-choice right-backs in Steve Finnan and Stephen Kelly, and there was even a lad on the bench ahead of me. In the middle, I must be about fifth-choice.
"From a personal point of view, I am looking at the manager and I don't know if he comes to watch the games I play or what.
"You don't know how far you are down the list, and that makes it hard."
Stoke's Glenn Whelan and Manchester United youngster Darron Gibson got the nod against Cyprus, and O'Brien is questioning whether to travel with the Republic squad if he has little chance of selection.
"Of course I'm having a look at myself," he said. "There's no point in going over there, training twice a day for a few days just to sit in the stand like a fan.
"Apart from the last couple of weeks with Bolton, I've never been dropped unless I had injuries.
"I'm used to playing in the Premiership and the Uefa Cup, so to go over and play and train under a management where it seems they don't know your name...I'm definitely going to have to look at the situation.
"It's a bit away from walking out completely, but I'm not going to keep going if I'm sitting in the stand.
"It's a problem here (at Bolton) too. When I report back on Thursday having missed a whole week training, the lads in my position are training day in, day out."