Hibernian's Shiels to have eye removed

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Dean Shiels, the Hibernian forward, is to undergo surgery to have an eye removed. The Northern Ireland international, who gained his first senior cap against Portugal at Windsor Park in November, has been sightless in the eye since an accident when he was eight.

The former Arsenal youth team player, 20, has spoken publicly for the first time about the injury. "Since the accident, I have had no sight at all in the eye despite several operations when I was younger," he said. "At that time it was always envisaged that there might come a time when the damaged eye might have to be removed. In the past few months, the condition of the eye has deteriorated and it has been causing me other problems such as severe headaches."

Following specialist advice, Shiels said he had decided to have the operation now. "While it is important that the fans understand the reason that I am not involved at the moment, I don't want people to make too big a deal of this. I will be very happy if I am just allowed to get on with the operation and then get back to playing football once I have fully recovered."