5 uncapped players who could debut under John O’Shea

With John O’Shea taking the reigns for Ireland in March, fans will be curious if he stays with the tried and trusted of the Stephen Kenny era of if the upcoming games against Belgium and Switzerland are used as a springboard to launch some Ireland careers.

Kenny showed a loyalty to a core group of players in what is essentially a thin player pool. O’Shea may be reluctant to rock the boat in what is already a time of uncertainty for the squad but given the form of some uncapped Irishmen, he may feel compelled to reward them with international honours. Ultimatley, by providing international experience to new caps, O’Shea could help intergrate them for the next era and at least give the incoming manager a taste of what they can do for Ireland.

John O’Shea (Image: FAI)

1.Sammie Szmodics (Blackburn Rovers)

Despite earning his first callup in 2021 for the games against Andorra and Hungary, Sammie Szmodics reamins uncapped for ireland. Having netted his 25th goal of the season against Swansea last weekend, international football is surely the next step for the talented Szmodics who was seemingly being tracked by Euro 2024 participants Hungary. At 28, the Essex born attacker could prove to have an international career similar to Wes Hoolahan who earned 42 of his 43 caps iver the age of 30 and like the Dubliner, Szmodics could prove to be a missing link for ireland given his technical excellence, eye for goal and flair.

Sammie Szmodics (Image: FM104)

2.Jake O’Brien (Lyon)

Having secured an obscure move to Lyon from Crystal Palace after a successful loan spell in the Belgian second tier, Jake O’Brien is thriving in France and pushing for an Ireland call-up. The Corkonian giant has appeared 19 time for the former French heavyweights, netting 3 times and not looking out of place whatsoever. The 23 year-old has been part of his sides revival and joins a long list of promising young Irish centre-backs who have emerged over the last couple of years. At 6’7, O’Brien offers not only the role of ball-playing centre-back but goal threat and fans will be outragd if he is not included by John O’Shea.

Jake O’Brien (Image: Lyon Foot)

3.Finn Azaz (Middlesbrough)

With 9 goals and 6 assists in the Championship this season, Finn Azaz has been one of the standout players in England’s second tier along with the aforementioned Sammie Szmodics. Having operated as a winger, deep-lying and attacking midfielder this season, Azaz has the technical nuance that Ireland are screaming out for and that would offer a new dimension to how the team can play. The 23 year-old has a simplistic excellence to his game and would provide the type of imagination and creativity to unlock the much needed space for Ireland’s talented attackers. Having recently joined Middlesbrough, Azaz’s game seems to constantly improve with every game.

Finn Azaz (Image: MSN)

4.Marcus Harness (Ipswich Town)

Having been on the Irish radar for several years now, Marcus Harness has yet pull on the green jersey despite being a non-playing squad member in 2021. The 28 year old has been something of an impact sub for promotion chasing Ipswich Town, weighing in with four goals this season with most of his 30 appearances being cameo’s for the high flyers. However like his fellow Irishman Jack Taylor, he has not managed to crack a consistent place in Kieran McKenna’s starting XI. An electric player, Harness would offer some depth to Ireland’s thread bare wide department and a capable option of running at tired legs late in games.

Marcus Harness (Image: Players X Account)

5.Kasey McAteer (Leicester city)

After paperwork delayed his Ireland bow under Stephen Kenny, a hamstring injury stemmed the buzz around Kasey McAteer’s Irish declaration. Since returning from injury in January, the 22 year-old winger has made eight appearances, starting in half of those games and finding the net against Stoke City. Like Harness, McAteer could add some much needed reinforcement to the wide position and offer genuine competition with Chiedoze Ogbene and Mikey Johnston. It is unclear if McAteer is cleared to play but if it transpire that he is and he remains fit, he could be an exciting inclusion later this month.

Kasey McAteer (image: The Irish News)

Nick, Lansdowne Roar

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8 thoughts on “5 uncapped players who could debut under John O’Shea”

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