Harry Arter and Glenn Whelan join up with Ireland squad
Martin O’Neill to make plenty of changes against Uruguay after defeat to Mexico
John Egan and Aiden McGeady share a joke during Republic of Ireland training on Saturday morning. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Martin O’Neill says that he will use Sunday evening’s game against Uruguay to give some of the players who did not travel to America some time on the pitch but he said he has not quite decided how close the team will be to the one that ends up facing Austria in next weekend’s World Cup qualifier.
Harry Arter and Glenn Whelan arrived at the squad’s hotel on Saturday morning to complete the now extended group and both are in contention to feature against the Uruguayans, who will be without Barcelona star Luis Suarez for the game.
“We have a lot of players in,” said the manager after training on Saturday morning. “There will be a few who need to play. Some of the Premier League players have missed out, not for that long. But we’ll be changing a few things.”
“That was in my thinking very early on,” he said when asked if he sees this game as something of a dress rehearsal for the qualifier, “but a lot of things can change. I would still think that players like Robbie (Brady), who would have a fairly decent chances of starting against Austria, would need some game time before stepping into that.
“It would be hard to make a judgement as to whether all 11 players would start the game. I’m not so sure, but it is important to me for some of the Premier League players to get some game time.”
Brady attended this morning pre-match press conference along with O’Neill, but the manager said that he had not decided who would captain the team against the two-time World Cup winners.
O’Neill said that the players who featured against Mexico in New Jersey on Thursday night and travelled back from the United States immediately after the game are all fine, with the likes of Daryl Murphy and Shane Duffy showing no ill-effects after returning from prolonged spells of relative inactivity.
“I think we’re okay,” he said. “There are a couple of knocks and bruises but we’ll get over that and this morning we have been supplemented by Glenn Whelan and Harry Arter having come in as well, so I think that at the moment we are okay. The players who we have here now are fine.”
Despite Suarez's absence, Uruguay have included a number of their most prominent players in the squad for this game. Sunday’s friendly is a 6.0 kick off, and is live on eir Sport 1.
Forwards: Jonathan Walters, Daryl Murphy, David McGoldrick