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Friday, 14 June, 2002, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
McAteer may quit Ireland duty
Ireland midfielder Jason McAteer admitted lying to Mick McCarthy about his fitness
Jason McAteer is unlikely to start against Spain
Irish midfielder Jason McAteer is considering retiring from international football in order to prolong his club career.

The Sunderland midfielder has had a difficult World Cup campaign for the Irish.

He suffered a knee injury in a warm-up game a week before the finals and then admitted he had lied to manager Mick McCarthy about his fitness before the game against Cameroon.

McAteer was then dropped for the match against Germany and was used as a late substitute in the win over Saudi Arabia.

"I'm at the stage of my career when you start to think about it," said McAteer, who made his debut in March 1994.

Open Quote
I'm half expecting not to play against Spain so I won't be disappointed
Close Quote
Jason McAteer

"I know 31 sounds young but I've noticed I've been picking up injuries easier the last couple of years.

"This would help my club career. I've got a great move with Sunderland. A great manager (Peter Reid) who I class as a friend as well.

"It would be sad to get an injury and stop playing for him".

McAteer is hoping to reclaim his place on the team for Sunday's second round match with Spain.

After being substituted at half-time in the Republic's opening game against Cameroon, McAteer reacted angrily to being left out of the clash against Germany.

McAteer threatened to go home but calmed down after watching his team's 1-1 draw against the Germans.

McAteer admitted that he had lied to Mick McCarthy
Mick McCarthy dropped McAteer

"It's true I was gutted for 48 hours but that was a very selfish way to think.

"It was a good decision, he needed a full-strength team," added McAteer.

The midfielder is playing down his chances of starting against the Spanish.

"I'm half expecting not to play so I won't be disappointed.

"I think if I expected to start and then didn't I would be gutted," added McAteer.

With 50 caps looming ahead many believe McCarthy will put him on the pitch if only briefly.

"It's a big thing," said McAteer, who will celebrate his 31st birthday on Tuesday.

"If it happens, 50 caps would be lovely".

McAteer's comments dominated an otherwise quiet day for the Irish squad.

Steve Staunton and Robbie Keane did not train but both seem certain to be fit for Sunday's match.


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GROUP E
  P GD PTS
GERMANY 3 +10 7
IRELAND 3 +3 5
CAMEROON 3 -1 4
SAUDI ARABIA 3 -12 0

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