Martin O'Neill has said he has been unable to get Stephen Ireland to return his calls directly and that he will not be trying to contact the Stoke midfielder anymore.
O'Neill said Ireland's agent (though he speculated that it could have been a representative for Mark Hughes) did get back to him and offered the same line that Mark Hughes has trotted out in the past, essentially that it is too soon for him to return but that he will when the time (naturally unspecified) is right.
O'Neill says that from now on Ireland will have to contact him rather than the other way around.
I tried to get hold of Stephen a couple of times by phone. I didn’t get through, that’s fine, okay, not a problem. Eventually his agent spoke to the FAI and then I spoke to the agent. It seemed to mirror what Mark Hughes was actually saying or had been saying in the papers although I hadn’t actually spoken to Mark Hughes, I don’t know whether he was a spokesman for Mark Hughes. But the truth is this: I’ve left it in a situation where I’ll not call. It’s really up to Stephen. If he wants to call me, fine.
I assume that the games coming up here are obviously too soon for him, seemingly, I’m only surmising that. But if he wants to be involved he’ll have to call me and I’ll leave it at that.