Anthony Stokes received some good news last week. He was included in Martin O'Neill's 40-man squad for the friendlies against Switzerland and Slovakia.
That news was tempered by Hibs' loss to Ross County in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday. Stokes is on loan at Easter Road from Celtic.
The loan move, which happened nearly two months ago, is one of the reasons Stokes stands an outside chance of making the cut when Martin O'Neill trims his squad to 30 players before those friendlies later this month. Previous to that, the striker had only played in two games for Celtic this season - one in July and one in August. He subsequently fell out of favour with Ronny Deila.
O'Neill clearly believes that Stokes has talent. However, he also believes the 27-year-old is one of the 'laziest' players he has ever seen.
O'Neill told the Irish Independent:
It's important that he's back playing again. Anthony won't mind me saying 'Anthony is Anthony' - he's a talented player and I would say possibly (one of the) three laziest players I've ever seen. Lazily talented or talented lazily. I'm never sure which way it goes.
You do wonder who the other two players are on Martin O'Neill's list.
Despite the positive words, O'Neill made no promises about Stokes making the cut. He also referenced the Dubliner's alleged assault of an Elvis impersonator back in 2013 - the trial for which is being held later this year.
Stokesie has got ability. He has been with me in a lot of squads before he had the altercation with Elvis.
I love him to death, he is a great character. Seriously, I'm not saying when I pare down the squad that he is going to make it but at least he is back playing again.
A wee bit like Aiden McGeady, Stokes is definitely one of those players who needs to play. Stokesie will not be happy now, I know this. You have ruined my relationship with him. Sorry, I have ruined my relationship with him!
Picture credit: Sportsfile