MARTIN O’NEILL has indicated his desire to keep David Meyler at the Stadium of Light despite a host of Championship clubs chasing the midfielder.
Meyler played the full 90 minutes in each of Sunderland’s two pre-season outings in South Korea and was one of the more impressive performers for the Black Cats in the Peace Cup.
But the 23-year-old has started just once in the Premier League since O’Neill took charge last December and that has not gone unnoticed by the former Cork City man’s suitors.
Several Championship clubs have made enquiries with O’Neill over Meyler’s availability, including former Sunderland boss and current Hull City manager Steve Bruce.
But O’Neill has always been keen to give Meyler his chance in pre-season and appears in no hurry to let the Irishman leave Wearside, with three years still remaining on his Sunderland contract.
“There’s loads of people interested in Meyler,” said O’Neill.
“But I think he’s got great courage and he’s a really great kid.
“I like him a lot and I can understand why teams want him.
“But he’s had some serious injuries and he’s still as brave as ever.”
Bruce is understood to be interested in taking Meyler on loan, rather than a permanent deal, due to understandable concerns over his injury record.
SEE Wednesday’s Mail for full story