MARTIN O’Neill believes Sunderland could have had more inclusions in the England squad than just Fraizer Campbell.
Campbell’s remarkable return from a 17-month injury lay-off continued yesterday after he earned his first senior England call-up for next week’s Wembley friendly against Holland.
Black Cats boss O’Neill was suitably delighted as the news broke at the Academy of Light yesterday morning after seeing the 24-year-old score twice in five appearances since returning to the first-team following his injury hell.
But O’Neill felt the likes of in-form skipper Lee Cattermole could also have got the nod from caretaker boss Stuart Pearce, who has named a youthful 25-man party following the exit of Fabio Capello.
O’Neill told the Echo: “Some of our players have been in good form.
“Certainly, Cattermole is playing well enough to have been given consideration.
“He’s been really excellent and gives us that bit extra there in the middle of midfield.
“But I’m really pleased that Fraizer is there. It’s a great boost for him whether he plays or not, although I’m sure he’ll be up for it.
“I would think this is something that’s a bit of a surprise for him. But if he gets the opportunity, wouldn’t it be great for him to take it?”
O’Neill realises the spotlight will be on Campbell after such a brief spell playing competitive football again, particularly if the former Manchester United man is given an opportunity to make his England debut.
But O’Neill insists being in the squad alone will hand Campbell a major boost after he had been tipped for a call-up prior to his first knee ligament injury in August, 2010.
“Sometimes somebody can come in and be judged on a 20-minute period and then find themselves out in the wilderness again. The international scene is pretty tough,” added O’Neill, who spoke with Pearce about Campbell prior to the Black Country derby at Molineux two weeks ago.
“If you are given 20 minutes, then you have to give it your best. Obviously getting into a squad for your country is a great boost.
“He’s only had a couple of games back and it’s a matter of maybe nursing him through the next three months if that’s possible. But overall it’s just a boost even for him to be involved in the squad for a few days.
“For me at this stage, whether he plays or doesn’t, is largely immaterial.”