Ireland annoyed by Sunderland’s Westwood call-off

Republic of Ireland's Keiren Westwood.
Republic of Ireland's Keiren Westwood.
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THE Republic of Ireland coaching set up have been left unimpressed by Sunderland keeper Keiren Westwood’s withdrawal from the squad due to play Germany in Cologne tomorrow and Kazakhstan on Tuesday.

 Westwood’s decision to pull out of the World Cup qualifiers was backed by his club, after it was revealed that the 28-year-old had been having injections in a shoulder injury sustained against Arsenal more than three weeks ago.

The Republic will cope – Millwall keeper David Forde has played most of the qualifiers and Newcastle United’s Rob Elliot has been called into the squad, with Darren Randolph of Birmingham also out.

But Ireland clearly feel that Westwood might have done more.

When the Republic’s goalkeeping coach, Alan Kelly, was asked whether he had made contact with Westwood, he replied simply: “Yes.”

Asked whether he was happy with the situation and the fact that Westwood is expected to be available for Sunderland’s game against Swansea on Saturday week, Kelly said: “I think he is not going to miss a club game, no.

“I spoke to him and the club decided to pull him out – obviously he wanted to get the injections himself as well.

“Between the both of them they withdrew from the squad.”

The Republic management team would clearly have preferred Westwood to link up with the squad.

And Kelly even hinted that not being part of the current squad might hinder the Black Cats stopper’s international hopes.

“It’s like anything else, you want to have everyone available,” said the coach. Sometimes those decisions are taken out of your hands.

“Rob Elliot has come in and Stephen Henderson from Bournemouth at a moment’s notice.

“And I’m delighted to see them working – it’s good as it freshens it up and gives people opportunities.

“You have to be here to have an effect.

“But the decision was made over Keiren and there was nothing we could do about it.”