Mick McCarthy is considering delaying a decision on the make-up of his final squad for the Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland and the friendly against Bulgaria, amid concerns about the impact of injuries and the amount of game-time some of those in contention are getting with their clubs.
“Our main concern at the moment is still about players getting games, but Darren Randolph and Keiren Westwood are playing well, the four Sheffield United players are all starting, as is Scott Hogan, while Robbie Brady is still recovering from his rib injury,” said the Ireland manager. “I’ll probably see where we are after the League Cup games next week before making a final decision.”
Jeff Hendrick, who has yet to start a Premier League match this season, played for Burnley in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Wednesday, and McCarthy is hoping the midfielder sees more significant action for his club in the coming days.
“Jeff needs to get game time into his legs so it was great he played in the game on Wednesday,” McCarthy told FAI.ie. “He might feature against Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday and Jeff should be involved in the League Cup game at home to Sunderland next Wednesday night which we will have scouted.
I might just delay naming the final squad until after those League Cup games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
McCarthy had praise for Jack Byrne’s two goals for Shamrock Rovers at Waterford on Monday night, while the manager also received “glowing reports” on Harry Arter’s performance for Fulham in their 4-0 win at home to Millwall on Wednesday.
Also mentioned was Ireland prospect Marcus Harness who impressed for Portsmouth against Sunderland and Coventry. McCarthy was also at The Valley, where he was taken with Josh Cullen’s performance in Charlton’s 1-1 draw with Forest.
Also being monitored is Troy Parrott who celebrated his first senior call-up to the provisional squad with two goals for Spurs Under-23 side in a 3-1 win against Manchester City, before he was forced off through injury.
The FAI have begun tentative attempts to recruit Leicester City’s James Maddison after receiving some encouragement about his possible willingness to switch allegiances, writes David Sneyd.
The 22-year-old was previously on the radar of Ireland’s underage scouts during his early days at Coventry and Norwich before being called up by England’s U21s in 2017.
Maddison was also included in England’s senior squad by manager Gareth Southgate for the Nations League games with Spain and Croatia last October, but failed to make an appearance, and it is understood FAI officials have been made aware a switch could be possible if he is overlooked for England’s Euro 2020 qualifying games next month with Bulgaria and Kosovo.