Kenny Shiels slams IFA over defections to Republic

Kenny Shiels
Kenny Shiels is manager of SPL side Kilmarnock

Former Northern Ireland Under-17 boss Kenny Shiels says the Irish Football Association could have done more to keep players born in NI who have opted to play for the Republic of Ireland.

"It's a shame that we've lost the likes of Daniel Kearns, Darron Gibson and Shane Duffy," said the Kilmarnock boss.

"We need more pastoral care, we need the people in charge to make these players feel welcome.

"We have English-born players coming in who aren't as good as homegrown ones."

Shiels cited midfielder Michael O'Connor as an example of a player whom he believes has not been given sufficient opportunities at senior international level.

"Michael has more quality than some of the players coming in, while others are playing for the Republic and I don't think it's right.

"I am disappointed in the displays and outcomes of the Northern Ireland side, we should be doing better than we are as we have good players.

"The likes of Jonny Evans and Aaron Hughes would grace any international side."