The Dugout - O'Neill delight at Campbell call-up

Thu, 23 Feb 20:24:00 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has called Fraizer Campbell's shock England call-up a "great boost" as the forward continues his return from long-term injury.

FOOTBALL 2009 European Championship U21 Spain U-21-England U-21 Frazier Campbell - 0

Caretaker manager Stuart Pearce named Campbell in the squad to play the Netherlands, even though he has played just five matches following nearly 18 months out with a knee injury.

"Naturally I'm delighted for him," O'Neill told Eurosport-Yahoo! "Interestingly, I met Stuart Pearce a couple of weeks ago at Molineux when Wolves were playing West Bromwich Albion.

"I went down to the game and he mentioned to me then that he was thinking of putting Fraizer in the squad. I didn't mention it to Fraizer because I was afraid that if it didn't materialise then it might become a big disappointment to him.

"But true to his word, Stuart has put him in the squad and I think it's a great boost for a fellow who has been out a long, long time through injury. So even to be around an England squad at all is fantastic news, whether he gets to play any part in the game - that would be the icing on the cake."

Campbell was a mainstay of Pearce's England U21 squad, but the speed of his elevation to the senior ranks has surprised some, including his club manager.

"Yes, I am (surprised), but I'm pleasantly surprised, and I'm delighted for him," O'Neill said.

"I think he would say the same, as he's only played a couple of games. It's a matter for us now over the next couple of months to nurse him through this period after a long time out through injury.

"A knee injury is bad enough, and for it to recur is nightmarish. So while he's got off to a fantastic start, it's very early yet, and we have to nurse him through the final three months of the season. But it's a great boost him nevertheless."

Martin O'Neill was speaking to Yahoo!'s 'The Dugout' through its partnership with the League Managers Association