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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 12:35 GMT
Hibs' Shiels to have eye removed
Hibernian forward Dean Shiels
Dean Shiels does not want a fuss made over his operation
Hibernian's Dean Shiels is to undergo surgery to have an eye removed.

The Northern Ireland international has been sightless in the eye since a domestic accident when he was eight years old.

Shiels, who can play in midfield or up front, said: "It was always envisaged that there might come a time when the damaged eye might have to be removed."

The 20-year-old has been backed by manager Tony Mowbray to continue his Hibs career after the operation.

Shiels, a former Arsenal youth player, has not played for the Scottish Premier League side since early December.

"Since the accident, I have had no sight at all in the eye despite several operations when I was younger," he told Hibs' website, speaking publicly about the problem for the first time.
Dean has shown us that he is a young man of remarkable spirit and determination
Hibs manager Tony Mowbray

"In the past few months, the condition of the eye has deteriorated and it has been causing me other problems, such as severe headaches.

"I have had specialist advice and, after talking this over with my family, I have taken the decision to have the eye removed 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."

Shiels, who earned his first senior cap for Northern Ireland when he came on as a late substitute in the 1-1 draw with Portugal at Windsor Park in November, hopes to undergo the operation within the next few weeks.

Hibs chairman Rod Petrie said: "Everyone at the club is behind Dean and the Hibernian family will support him throughout his recovery.

"Dean is a talented player and we all look forward to seeing him back playing again as soon as possible."

Mowbray added: "Dean has shown us that he is a young man of remarkable spirit and determination in achieving all that he has done already in the game.

"He earned his first full international cap in recent months - despite having no sight in one eye.

"That same spirit will see him achieve even more in his career in the future.

"What is amazing is that Dean has adapted so fantastically that people who don't know him well have been entirely unaware of this."


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