With it just three weeks until to the much-anticipated Ireland v France game, Stephen Kenny will have a few dilemmas when it comes to picking his squad. The first real decision will be the size of the squad seen as we have a friendly against Latvia five days before France. Will Kenny use this as purely preparation for France or take a chance to look at some new players with a view to the rest of the campaign?
This position won’t see any change with Gavin Bazunu , Caoimhin Kelleher and Mark Travers positions unlikely to change but Max O’Leary’s form has been decent lately and he could cover for any pull outs.
Seamus Coleman, Matt Doherty and James McClean will make the squad but from here is where the dilemma begins. Will Robbie Brady who hasn’t had much game time lately get the call-up or Ryan Manning whose form has been so strong the last number of months get the call up instead. As we have seen in the last window Callum O’Dowda was useed as a left wingback so he could be deployed in this position. Danny McNamara and Cyrus Christe could also be in contention given their form.
Dara O’Shea and John Egan are in with Nathan Collins despite his struggles for game time lately. For me, Andrew Omobamidele will make the cut. Is Shane Duffy brought for experience? or have Darragh Lenihan or Luke McNally played their way into the squad.. McNally has impressed since moving to Coventry and offers a modern alternative to Duffy.
Josh Cullen, Jayson Molumby and Jason Knight, will be in and I have a feeling Jeff Hendrick, Conor Hourihane and Alan Browne will also be included to the dismay of many. I feel Jamie McGrath and Will Smallbone will get in and depending on the squad size, I would not imagine many more been picked. Conor Coventry’s loan move to championship with Rotherham is going well, Finn Azaz who I really rate has comeback from Injury and picked up his form again scoring and assisting on his return and Conor Ronan has made a good start to his MLS career by getting two MOM for Colorado Rapids. Luca Connell who is having a serious season for Barnsley is another option. The clamour for Joe Hodge to be picked has seem to calm a little bit since his game time has at Wolves has been reduced he probably will be in the u21 squad to play Iceland I hope.
Evan Ferguson, Michael Obafemi, Adam Idah, Chiedoze Ogbene and Troy Parrot will be automatic picks and the question is, will there be room for more attackers? Mark Sykes should be included on form and with Robinson out I feel he is a good replacement. Then will Tom Canonn get in ahead of the likes of Will Keane and Scott Hogan? Aaron Connolly is also unlucky to miss out through injury after a recent renaissance.
As ever please share your thoughts and opinions on the squad and the piece
Ken, The Green Machíne Podcast