Written by Robert Sutherland

Damien Delaney could well feature at Euro 2016 for Ireland - even though he retired from international duty last year.

The Boys In Green boss Martin O'Neill has seemingly left the door open for Damo, eho has been superb for Palace this season.

The 34-year-old has been a regular at the back for the Eagles for the past three top flight season and continues to put in superb performances. His man marking job on Diego Costa in Palace's win at Stamford Bridge earlier this season still goes down as one of the greatest individual performances in a red a blue shirt ever.

And O'Neill has finally taken notice, telling TV3: “The summer before last when we had a trip to America: Damien played in the match before that, I think it was the Turkey game, and I think Damien felt that he was never going to be a first choice at the time and declined to go to America.

“I mean that didn’t augur too well, whatever he says about it, he said that he would make himself available if he had a decent chance of getting into the squad, or into the team.

“I wasn’t in the position to actually make those decisions, I couldn’t guarantee anybody in the side. So we went out separate ways at that time.

“Don’t get me wrong, Damien’s had an excellent season with Crystal Palace, he is on the wrong side of 30, he hasn’t played that many competitive games for the Republic of Ireland through his career, but I have to say that the way that we have in terms of centre halves, if we get a few more injuries, I certainly couldn’t rule out anything, particularly if players have an interest in playing as well.”

Delaney had announced his retirement from international duty for Ireland back in August after nine apperances. In an instagram post he wrote: "I just want to clarify my position with regards to the Ireland national team and my omission from the current squad.

"I have no issue with Roy Keane and shook his hand this summer at a Cork City European match. I know that at the age of 34 the future of Irish football does not lie with me, the rigours of premier league football and the 24/7 dedication required takes its toll so I look on the international break as a chance to recover, that said I spoke to Martin O Neill and contrary to his recent comments I never asked for a regular starting position.

"I did however disagree with certain aspects which out of respect to Martin and the national team will remain private. Ireland need to plan for the long term even if it means sacrificing one maybe two major tournaments.

"We need to build an identity and team ethos from schoolboy football to full international that will last. I understand people weren't enamoured with Mr. Trapattoni but whether you agreed with his philosophy or not you have to respect the man and the results he achieved with his philosophy.

"There are many footballing philosophies and we need to choose one that suits Irish traits and strengths best, similar to what Wales are now achieving or what Mr. Trapattoni achieved in his time in charge.

"I'll always be an ardent supporter and wish I could of contributed more."

Palace boss Alan Pardew is convinced Delaney would reconsider his position if given a chance, and could star for Ireland at the Euros in France this summer. He told the Sunday Times. "I think he is big enough and bold enough to swallow his pride and do the right thing.

"Delaney is a maverick player. He is not of a norm. They all come with different ingredients and you have to make sure you hit the right buttons with them players.

"He has that balance of a left-foot delivery down the left-hand channel. Some of the top Premier League teams don't have that luxury of having that type of quality from their centre half."

Should Damo be playing for Ireland? Comment below!


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