Michael O'Neill is baffled by Troy Deeney comments on potential Northern Ireland call-up

Watford striker had claimed to be in talks about representing the North internationally

Troy Deeney, Watford

Troy Deeney (Picture by: Adam Davy / PA Wire/Press Association Images)

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill has admitted his surprise at Troy Deeney's comments about potentially making himself available for an international call-up.

The England-born Watford striker told Sky Sport's Soccer AM that he was in talks about potentially putting himself in the picture for a call-up.

O'Neill confirmed that he had spoken to Deeney about his eligibility when he was first appointed but says that at the time eligibility to line out for the North did not appear possible.

In comments reported by The Belfast Telegraph, O'Neill said: "I spoke with Troy about four years ago, not long after I took the job. I was alerted to Troy's potential eligibility, and I spoke to the player and had him watched. We were informed that the eligibility wasn't there, so we didn't pursue it any further. So the idea that we are suddenly speaking again is strange. We haven't spoken since four years ago. Saturday's news prompted a few texts and tweets, but it is news to me as it has been to everyone else."

With Euro 2016 on the horizon, O'Neill added that his focus will be on the players that helped them qualify for a first major tournament since the 1986 World Cup.

"I don't think there is any point [contacting Deeney again] unless the situation has changed. There are conversations we could have, but it is not high on my agenda. My focus is on the players I have here."