Martin O’Neill praises Ireland-eligible Paul Smyth

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has praised Queens Park Rangers forward Paul Smyth, but admits he has not contacted him about a switch from Northern Ireland.

The 20-year-old has reportedly watched Ireland in Dublin, but has lined out for Northern Ireland at Under-19 and U-21 level.

O’Neill admits that he has been impressed with what he has seen of the forward for QPR, but that he will not go after Smyth unless the player makes the first move.

“Why would I not want to speak to him? But I’m not imagining that’s the case. Michael [O’Neill, Northern Ireland manager] has done a lot of work with him,” O’Neill said, as reported by the Irish Mirror.

“I could have gone to him. He still hasn’t made his mind up about things.

“He was brilliant the other night, absolutely brilliant but Michael is talking to him if that’s the case.

“I haven’t gone and searched these people out. But he was brilliant. He’s very small but he was excellent against Derby.

“Unless I got a call from someone along the way, Michael has made inroads into that and well done Michael.”

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