Ireland are in action this Thursday in the opening game of the inaugural UEFA Nations League.
The tournament is a level above international friendlies, given that places in Euro 2020 are up for grabs. But a regular starter for Ireland in Harry Arter is not expected to play a part in proceedings.
The Independent report that the midfielder likely won’t be in the trimmed-down squad to face rivals Wales.
The 28-year-old just completed all 90 minutes in Cardiff City’s 3-2 defeat to Arsenal, so it’s natural that the report focuses on a possible reason for his expected absence – namely Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane.
Manager Martin O’Neill confirmed that the confrontational Keane had an altercation with both Arter and Jon Walters during an Ireland training session in June.
“I’m not denying there hasn’t been altercations,” O’Neill said at the time.
“But the situation has definitely been defused and it’s just part of things. In one of the particular arguments, the two lads – Roy and the particular player – were actually in agreement about the same thing but it took them time to realise it.”
The squad announcement will be made early next week, and should prove for interesting reading, especially if O’Neill has to explain a non injury-induced absence.
Arter has made 13 appearances for Ireland since his senior debut in 2015