By George Brooks
Leeds United midfielder Eunan O’Kane revealed Martin O’Neill has told him his international prospects are better playing for a Championship club than sitting on the bench in the Premier League.
The 27-year-old is currently on duty with the Republic of Ireland as they prepare for the first leg of their World Cup qualifying play-off with Denmark this evening.
O’Kane has made 15 Championship appearances for Leeds this season, scoring three goals.
He was in and out of the side under previous boss Garry Monk last season, but has started every game when fit under head coach Thomas Christiansen.
O’Kane’s move to Elland Road from Premier League side Bournemouth last year has given him the chance to boost his international ambitions.
He has now made 41 appearances for Leeds and 37 starts since joining in August 2016.
The Ireland international is enjoying life at Elland Road and recently signed a new four-year deal to keep himself at the club until 2021.
O’Kane just missed out on the Martin O’Neill’s squad for Euro 2016 in France and he is determined to be named in the squad for next year’s World Cup in Russia, should the Irish qualify.
Keeping his place in the Leeds side is crucial to achieving his goal.
“I always say the reward is going to play for your country but you have to put the shift in here, you have to be playing here and doing well,” said O’Kane, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“Hopefully the way things have been going for me personally in terms of minutes and me playing every game will continue.”
“The manager at Ireland, Martin O’Neill has alluded to it before where if you are in the team and playing at your club and playing then it’s better than being in the Premier League and sitting on the bench every week.”