DAVID MEYLER is set to stay at the Stadium of Light after Martin O’Neill had a change of heart over sending the midfielder out on loan.
O’Neill admits Meyler was on the verge of leaving Sunderland on an emergency loan last week, with former Black Cats boss Steve Bruce primed to take the 23-year-old to Hull City.
But after seeing Meyler win his first Republic of Ireland cap during the week and playing more than an hour of Sunderland’s last Premier League outing at Swansea, O’Neill will now resist any attempts to prise the ex-Cork City man away from Wearside.
That will be welcome news for Meyler, who has continually preached his desire to make his mark with Sunderland after recovering from two cruciate knee ligament injuries.
O’Neill said: “A number of teams have asked me about him and I mentioned it to him, but ideally I would like him to play here.
“At one stage he was almost going out on emergency loan where we would get him back after 28 days.
“But we have important games coming up, a League Cup match coming up and he has had a game or two now which, in terms of fitness, has helped enormously.
“There are a number of teams that have enquired about taking him on loan and he knows he hasn’t done that much.
“But he is a fighter and really wants to play.
“He wouldn’t be averse to doing anything just to get games and if it’s games he needs in a while, we will see.
“But at the moment we need him around.
“He played for us at Swansea when Cattermole came off injured, so he’s important.
“He played pre-season and I think he wants to play here first.”
Meyler impressed on his Ireland bow in midweek after playing 90 minutes in the 4-1 friendly victory over Oman.
O’Neill added: “I was delighted for David, he is an exceptional lad and you would be very happy with him around the place. I thought he played well.
“He has had a really tough time with injuries and I have only known him as he has fought back from it.”