Martin O'Neill targets Sunderland striker Connor Wickham for Republic of Ireland?

Sunderland's Connor Wickham in action against Fulham on August 17, 2013
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Martin O'Neill reportedly considers the option of approaching Connor Wickham about playing for Ireland instead of England.

New Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has said that he could try to persuade Connor Wickham to switch his national allegiance from England to Ireland.

Sunderland striker Wickham has performed well at youth level for England but has failed to become a Black Cats regular, and chances of a senior England call seem far-fetched at the moment.

He would be eligible to play for Ireland because of his Northern Irish father Stefan.

"He is out on loan at this minute at Sheffield Wednesday and Connor would be the first to say that to go and play in the Premier League week in, week out is still a big task," O'Neill is quoted as saying by the East Anglian Daily Times.

"But those little spells on loan, particularly this one where he is doing all right and scored a few goals, will help him.

"I don't think I am in a position at this minute to turn down anything and if someone tells me someone is available, particularly someone I have worked with and might have a chance, I would give it some consideration."

Wickham, 20, has played under both O'Neill and his assistant Roy Keane at Sunderland and former club Ipswich Town respectively.

He joined Sunderland from Ipswich for approximately £8m back in 2011.

Republic of Ireland's new football manager Martin O'Neill speaks during a press conference to announce his official appointment at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin, Ireland on November 9, 2013
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