Evan Ferguson starts for Ireland against Latvia as Omobamidele returns

Atletico Madrid full-back Matt Doherty captains side for friendly match

Teenage striker Evan Ferguson was handed a first senior start as the Republic of Ireland warmed up for Monday’s opening Euro 2024 qualifier showdown against France with a friendly against Latvia.

There was a debut too for Southampton midfielder Will Smallbone, currently on loan at Stoke, as manager Stephen Kenny used the depth of his squad.

Norwich defender Andrew Omobamidele was included for the first time since November 2021 after recovering from a back injury in a team captained by Atletico Madrid defender Matt Doherty, with Callum O’Dowda, Dara O’Shea, Jayson Molumby and Michael Obafemi also returning to the starting line-up.

Latvia boss Dainis Kazakevics fielded seven of the men who started November’s Baltic Cup final defeat by Iceland, with Raimonds Krollis, who was sent off 27 minutes into the game, among the absentees.