NI boss Michael O'Neill sounds out Dutch-based Robert Cullen

Michael O'Neill is exploring whether Dutch-based Japanese player Robert Cullen might be prepared to make himself available to Northern Ireland.

Cullen, 26, has represented the Japan Under-20 team and plays his club football for Dutch outfit VVV-Venlo.

His father is Northern Irish and O'Neill has made inquiries to gauge the player's interest.

"An approach to his [Cullen's] club has been made for further information," said the Northern Ireland manager.

"I intend to watch this player personally or have someone watch him in the near future.

"In the short time I have been in the job, I have actively tried to deepen the player pool available for selection by trying to find players who are eligible for NI.

"This will continue throughout my reign as it will allow our younger players time to develop and not be rushed into full international football."

Cullen represented Japan at the 2005 Under-20 World Championship and played for Japanese clubs Jubilo Iwata and Roasso Kumamoto before signing for the Dutch team last year.

He has scored three goals in 31 appearances since moving to the Dutch club.

New Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill names his squad to play Norway in a friendly at Windsor Park on 29 February

O'Neill made the comments about Cullen while answering questions on a webchat hosted by the Belfast-based News Letter newspaper.

The Northern Ireland boss also said that former Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll was under consideration for a return to the international fold.

Carroll opted out of the Northern Ireland scene during Nigel Worthington's reign but has expressed a desire to represent his country again under the new regime.

He is currently at Olympiakos, saving a penalty in the Europa League with his first touch for the club on debut.

Carroll is not in O'Neill's 24-man party for the 29 February friendly against Norway but could reappear in the future.

"We both agreed given that he has just moved to Olympiakos that he should concentrate on his club commitments in the short term," added O'Neill.

"He will definitely come into consideration for the next squad."