O'Neill full of praise for Kilgallon

Sunderland manager glad defender has stepped back up to the first team amid club's injury crisis

The Sunderland manager, Martin O'Neill, has praised defender Matt Kilgallon for taking his chance in the first team when it came along.

The 28-year-old looked to be heading for the exit door at the Stadium of Light following the summer arrivals of John O'Shea and Wes Brown from Manchester United to add to a squad that already included Titus Bramble and Michael Turner.

However, with Bramble and Turner both injured, Kilgallon found himself on the substitutes' bench for the Premier League game with the leaders Manchester City on 1 January, and when Wes Brown succumbed to a groin problem, he was thrust back into the limelight, and has been there ever since.

O'Neill, who replaced Steve Bruce as manager last month, said: "I hadn't seen very much of him, other than little bits in training, of course. He got the opportunity the other week when Wes Brown got injured. He went on to the field and he has acquitted himself very well so far in the games.

"I think he is just pleased to be involved at this minute where perhaps he didn't have involvement before.

"Now, that's fine. I have been at football clubs where players maybe didn't get the same sort of involvement before, and then suddenly it happens for them either with the manager there or with someone else in.

"It's the case with not just Matt himself, but with other players. If they feel as if the team has done well and they hadn't been a serious part of it, when they get that opportunity, they might as well give it everything they have got. I think that applies here."

Kilgallon has started the two games since the shock 1-0 win over the leaders – at Wigan Athletic in the league and Peterborough in the FA Cup third round – and has finished on the winning side in both of them.

In the process, he has re-established himself as a genuine first-team player and perhaps given himself a future on Wearside when his days appeared to be numbered after loan spells at Middlesbrough and Doncaster last season.

At one point, it looked as though he might have been heading out of the club, as former team-mate Nyron Nosworthy did on Tuesday when he joined Championship side Watford on a permanent deal.

As O'Neill assesses his options with the winter transfer window now open, several of the club's younger players could follow Nosworthy this month, although only on loan,with the midfielder Billy Knott and striker Ryan Noble among those being coveted.

Manchester City's on-loan defender Dedryck Boyata, meanwhile, will stay at Bolton for the remainder of the season. As part of the deal agreed in July, parent club City had the option to recall their player midway through the campaign.

With Vincent Kompany starting a four-match suspension and Kolo Touré away at the African Cup of Nations, there was a suggestion that City's manager, Roberto Mancini, might invoke the clause to take the Belgian back to the Etihad Stadium.

However, it is understood that the deadline for City to make that request has already passed and the 21-year-old will remain with Wanderers until the end of the campaign.

Stoke's midfielder Marc Wilson has not given up hope of making the Republic of Ireland squad for this summer's Euro 2012 finals.

Wilson is yet to make a competitive debut for Giovanni Trapattoni's side, despite being selected for several squads.

However, the Co Antrim-born 24-year-old, whose cause may not have been helped by a series of withdrawals at a time when the Italian was less than happy with the failure of several players to report for duty, insists he has no regrets about declaring his allegiance to the Republic.

Wilson told Stoke's official website: "I have always seen myself as a Republic of Ireland player. I supported them when I was growing up and if I have to continue to bide my time and wait for my chance to come along, I am happy to do that.

"The players and the gaffer have done a great job there, so I can't complain about it really.

"I would love to play for them, though, one day and I have made that clear before a number of times. Hopefully, my time will come in the future.

"I would love to try to be a part of the squad for the European finals, but if that doesn't happen, then I will keep working hard here at Stoke and try to earn a spot in the Ireland team."

The New Northern Ireland manager, Michael O'Neill, is aware of Wilson's eligibility, but the player insists there is no turning back.

"There is no way I would switch to Northern Ireland, though, now," he said.

"I made the decision a few years ago without having my head turned by anybody, and I am sticking by that. It is something I am comfortable with."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice