Change of heart for O'Neill over Meyler
Martin O'Neill has admitted he is now keen to keep David Meyler around after admitting he would loan the midfielder out in pre-season.
Meyler, 23, who won his first senior Ireland cap in the Republic's 4-1 win over Oman in midweek, has forced his way into O'Neill's thinking after looking destined for the Stadium of Light exit.
The central midfielder recovered from cruciate ligament damage towards the end of 2011 and was in and around the matchday squad for the remainder of the 2011/12 campaign.
However with a number of senior central midfield options available to O'Neill, the gaffer admitted that he would look to move the midfielder out on loan in order to get game time.
Since then though Meyler has featured prominently during pre-season and came on for the injured Lee Cattermole at Swansea City two Saturdays ago.
Speaking to The Sunderland Echo, O'Neill revealed he has since turned down loan offers for Meyler:
"A number of teams have asked me about him and I mentioned it to him, but ideally I would like him to play here,' confirmed O'Neill.
"At one stage he was almost going out on emergency loan where we would get him back after 28 days.'
The boss continued:
"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.'
Meyler has made just 14 Premier League starts for the Black Cats since moving to Sunderland in 2008 from his native Ireland, thanks largely to serious injuries suffered during his time here.