James McClean is hoping that intensive rehab work he is undertaking in Dubai will help speed up his recovery from a knee injury in time to make him available for Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off game against Slovakia on March 26.
Mick McCarthy says Shane Long is “back where we need him to be” to stake a claim for a place on the plane to Slovakia, while the manager is prepared to give Ciaran Clark and James McClean as long as he can to see if they are able to recover from injury in time for Ireland’s Euro 2020 play-off on March 26.
While Mick McCarthy is always prepared to cut a little slack for a couple of his more experienced and established names, the manager has never sought to minimise the weight he attaches to the general requirement that, in order to play for their country, his players really need to be playing for their clubs.
If there can be such a thing as an upside for Mick McCarthy in seeing four players succumb to friendly fire on the training pitch — Shane Long having now followed Alan Browne, Mark Travers and Luca Connell out of the squad since preparations for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Denmark and Gibraltar began on the Algarve — it’s that none would have been likely to start in Copenhagen on Friday night.
IIreland might have back-to-back Euro qualifiers looming next month but Mick McCarthy doesn’t think it’s a gamble that, in advance of those big games away to Denmark and home to Gibraltar, his Irish contingent at Sheffield United are heading off to Las Vegas to celebrate the club’s promotion to the Premier League.