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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 31 July, 2014

Scouting ‘granny-rule’ players should be a priority, says McAteer

The ex-Ireland international insists there is talent out there.

FORMER IRELAND INTERNATIONAL Jason McAteer believes there are English-born players available to Martin O’Neill who would improve the current squad.

There were no new faces when O’Neill named a familiar-looking side for last week’s 2-1 friendly defeat to Serbia and with no fixtures for two months, Tranmere-born McAteer, who won 52 caps for the Boys in Green, thinks the recently-appointed management team need to up the search for fresh talent.

“I think Martin has gone on record and said he needs to go start searching for players,” McAteer told TheScore.ie.

“I don’t know if young Jon Flanagan has got Irish in him. There has been talk of it.

I think it’s a priority. There are definitely players out there that could improve the squad.

“What is great though is that you have got the likes of Roy and Martin. If you’ve got those two personalities trying to convince you, you might think ‘I’ll have a crack at this’.”

Although O’Neill and Keane have been to see dozens of games in the past few months, there has been nothing more than rumours about possible uncapped players who could be in line for call-ups.

And McAteer agrees that keeping pursuits private is the best approach.

“I don’t think he will (go public) out of respect for the players. He won’t want to put them under pressure to make the decisions and put it out there that they’ve got a decision to make,” he added.

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