Newcastle in dialogue with Republic of Ireland over Rob Elliot injury

Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane
Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane

Newcastle United have NOT blocked Rob Elliot from linking up with his country.

The goalkeeper was called up by Martin O’Neill for the Republic of Ireland’s two-legged Euro 2016 play-off against Bosnia.

He doesn’t feel as if he’s 100 per cent fit, or possibly not even 80 per cent fit.

Martin O’Neill

But Elliot will not travel to Zenica for tomorrow night’s first leg because of a thigh problem.

The injury, however, did not stop the 29-year-old playing for his club at the weekend.

Elliot was outstanding in Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium, and Roy Keane, Republic of Ireland manager O’Neill’s assistant, said it was “ironic” that players are often adjudged to be injured when they are due to meet up with their international team-mates.

United head coach Steve McClaren, without injured pair Tim Krul and Karl Darlow, has made no comment on Elliot this week.

But the club is understood not to have stopped Elliot joining up with his country.

Newcastle and O’Neill remain in dialogue ahead of the second leg in Dublin on Monday.

“You can see it from both sides,” said O’Neill.

“I would say this, in Newcastle’s case, that at the moment, we probably have a wider choice of goalkeeper than they would have with their goalkeepers being injured at this moment.

“We will in essence travel without him to go to Bosnia, and then we will see how things are.”

Asked if there was any “frustration”, O’Neill added: “No, I understand Newcastle’s position.

“From our viewpoint, I think they understand ours. We could call him and assess him ourselves if we so desire.

“But Rob himself ... I think that’s the main person to ask about it all. Rob himself, while feeling that he’s not great, would obviously want to do something.

“But he doesn’t feel as if he’s 100 per cent fit, or possibly not even 80 per cent fit.”

O’Neill’s staff are assessing former Sunderland goalkeeper Kieren Westwood, who has a foot problem.

And the situation could change should the injury rule Westwood out of one or both of the play-off games.

Ex-Newcastle keeper Shay Given is already out.