Gary Breen has criticized Mick McCarthy’s reported pursuit of Nathan Redmond.
The Southampton winger has won one international cap for England in a non-competitive friendly, and qualifies for the Republic of Ireland through his mother.
The Irish Independent have reported that McCarthy is hoping to persuade Redmond to represent the Boys in Green, but former Ireland international Breen is unhappy with the news.
“In isolation, he’s a very talented player and we don’t have players of his ability throughout that squad,” Breen told Off The Ball, in quotes reported by the42.ie.
“On a personal opinion, no I don’t like it. He’s not Irish. Why’s he playing for Ireland, or why is Mick trying to get him to play for Ireland?
“I’d have this argument with Mick, no problem.”
Breen also described the eligibility rules as “nonsense”.
“But this is the big problem, these rules are nonsense,” he continued.
“If you’ve played for England before and you’ve shown no inclination to declare for Ireland at any stage of your career but now suddenly ‘oh yeah, I might fancy that, that’s a nice career move and I might get a chance to play in the Euro Championships…’ No, I don’t like it.”
While voicing his displeasure with the rules, Breen claimed he would fully support the 24-year-old Saints star if he were to represent Ireland.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, he’d be an asset to the squad, there’s no denying that. And ultimately, I don’t necessarily cheer on the player, I cheer on the jersey.
“So if for some reason he does go on to feature in an Ireland shirt, he’ll get my full backing, like all those players who have worn other national shirts. We’ve seen it, they’re heroes in our team now.
“You’ve got someone like Callum Robinson, who’s played 31 times for England underage, and we’re cheering him.
“You asked do I like it? No, I don’t. I’ve been quite vocal about it. If he does declare for Ireland and he pulls on the jersey and walks out in front of us all, will I cheer him on? Of course I will.”
McCarthy has also expressed interest in Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford, who is also eligible to represent Ireland.