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Meyler catches Martin's eye
AFTER a week in which Sunderland's young winger from Derry had to make a grovelling apology to his international boss, Martin O'Neill has acknowledged the rejuvenation of a Corkman in his thoughts for a starting role on Wearside .
While James McClean's antics on Twitter put his prospects with his country in serious jeopardy, David Meyler continued his return to the first team scene by earning a first cap for the Republic of Ireland.
McClean did make a 30-minute appearance as a substitute on Tuesday against Oman in the wake of his criticism of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni for not playing him against Kazakhstan.
But Meyler never encountered such problems, as the 23-year-old followed up his non-appearance in Kazakhstan days earlier with a starting role at Craven Cottage.
It was a sweet moment for Meyler after bouncing back from two serious injuries to figure from the bench a couple of times under O'Neill - including the last outing at Swansea City ten days earlier.
And the Sunderland boss thinks McClean's rapid climb to the top has contributed to his failure to control his emotions on the Twitter platform on a couple of occasions in the last ten months.
"David has the experience behind him, he has always wanted to play in the big league and he got injured, got injured again, none of that has really happened to James," said O'Neill.
"James has had a pretty meteoric rise, from Christmas time, he has had very few set backs. He has not had the injuries, which I wouldn't wish on him, he has not had any of that fighting to do, really.
"His appreciation of things would be less than David's at this time. That will definitely come and for all the things I have said about James he is sensible enough to start to realise this is a great game we are in and he has a great chance. He has to settle down, play.
"If the manager at the minute doesn't see in his game what we see here, so be it. The manager's vindication is that they won the game with two late goals. Trapattoni's record in football is, at this minute, better than James'."
Former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce had explored the possibility of taking Meyler on loan to Hull City this season.
O'Neill said: "Lots of things have happened to David. He has had a call up from Ireland and he played for us at Swansea. A number of teams have asked me about him, I mentioned it to him.
"Ideally I would like him to play here. At one stage he was almost going out on emergency loan where we could get him back after 28 days.
"We have important games coming up, a League Cup match coming up, and he has a game or two, so in terms of fitness it has helped enormously. He played the whole match the other night, he did well."
O'Neill is planning to have a word with McClean before tomorrow's visit of Liverpool, which promises to be an emotionally charged occasion in light of the independent panel's report in to the tragedy of Hillsborough disaster being published.
The Sunderland boss does, though, think McClean will have learned from his mistakes already and that his actions have disrupted his focus.
"I need to speak to James," he said. "He has obviously been affected. He has been doing part of his driving test, the theory test, this week, and failed that as well. He is having a tough time.
"Will it really affect him? He has a really good career in front of him. He must just settle down. James has got to learn. It's his choice of language, he can't be swearing on these things, he should have a wee bit more sense."
O'Neill will continue to monitor the fitness of Adam Johnson (hamstring) ahead of the visit of Liverpool. He also revealed that Phil Bardsley and Wes Brown are training again but will not be match fit to face the Reds.
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