Kevin Long named in 38-man Republic of Ireland squad
Ireland name squad to play Mexico (June 1st), Uruguay (June 4th) and Austria (June 11th)
Kevin Long of Burnley has been included in the Ireland squad. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Kevin Long is the only new name in Martin O’Neill’s 38 strong Ireland squad for the forthcoming games against Mexico, Uruguay and Austria although Marc Wilson is recalled after a long absence and James McCarthy is included despite having yet to resume full training at his club following a hamstring injury.
O’Neill intends to take almost half of the players, mainly those with Championship clubs who have been off since the regular season finished on May 7th, to Fota Island the week after next for several days of intensive training.
This group will, it seems, provide the backbone of the side to face Mexico in New Jersey.
The Uruguay game on June 3rd in Dublin will more or less, serve as a dress rehearsal for the World Cup qualifying game against Austria a week later according to the manager.
“The couple of days that we have down In Fota Island is essentially for the Championship players,” he said on Monday as he named the squad. “For some of them it’s quite a while since they played 90 minutes.
“The Premier League players, some of them can have a bit of time off, some of them have commitments with their family but if they don’t go to America, they’ll be ready for the Uruguay.
“The Austria game is so, so important to us. We might think about experimentation against Mexico but we’ll want to have plenty of experience at international level going into that.
Reading midfielder Liam Kelly is included again despite not having featured for the club in their play-off game over the weekend with O’Neill suggesting that he has high hopes that he might develop into a player of real ability over the coming years.
“He didn’t play on Saturday,” he said. “I went to the game and he wasn’t on the bench. He might have picked up a knock of some description. But he’s a very tidy little footballer. He’s small but you’re hoping that one so young has a bit of a future ahead of him.”
Robbie Elliot has picked up a couple of injuries and has had to play through the pain barrier,” he continued, about the Newcastle goalkeeper.
“He’s been a little bit surprised but delighted that he’s gotten into the side. He’s got a little bit of break now. And we said we would talk after that but in an ideal world, if these games were not coming up it would have been great for Rob to have a bit of a break.”
Long’s inclusion, he said, meanwhile, had been recommended by Roy Keane who went to see him start one of his two recent games for Burnley.
“Roy (Keane) saw him play last week, and said he wouldn’t discount him,” O’Neill said. “He has had a host of injuries and been loaned out to a number of clubs. I think the game (against West Brom) he was making his (Premier League) debut last week.
“He didn’t do too badly in the game, and I will have a look. Hopefully he will play next week (against West Ham).
“There was a doubt about him playing this particular game on Saturday, the normal centre-half didn’t recover in time from injury, so we will see what happens next week, but it is nice to see him play a couple of games, and with Ciarán Clark out it is a nice bit of competition.”
Robbie Brady’s place in the international side seems safe despite his extended settling in period at the same club. “It doesn’t concern me at the moment,” said O’Neill. “It takes a little time to settle down but I think Robbie has proved his worth, certainly to us.
“It will be frustrating for him at the moment, but I think he just has to bide his time and next season will be a big season for him. He has Jeff (Hendrick) there to help him settle in, and I would hope that he would be a first-team regular next season.”
O’Neill more or less dismissed the chances of Aston Villa striker Scott Hogan declaring for Ireland at this stage, saying that he had a conversation with the player’s agent but that it had been short and that he was no longer hopeful about the situation.
Goalkeepers: Colin Doyle (Bradford City), Rob Elliot (Newcastle United), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Darren Randolph (West Ham United)
Defenders: Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce (Derby County), Paul McShane (Reading), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Andy Boyle (Preston North End), John Egan (Brentford), Marc Wilson (West Bromwich Albion), Kevin Long, Stephen Ward (Burnley), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Everton), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady (Burnley), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Eunan O’Kane (Leeds United), Darron Gibson (Sunderland), Liam Kelly (Reading), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), James McCarthy (Everton), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Daryl Horgan (Preston North End), Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen)
Forwards: Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Daryl Murphy (Newcastle United), Shane Long (Southampton), Jonathan Walters (Stoke City), Adam Rooney (Aberdeen)
Republic of Ireland v Mexico - MetLife Stadium, New Jersey (1am Irish time)
Republic of Ireland v Uruguay, Aviva Stadium, 6pm
2018 World Cup qualifier: Republic of Ireland v Austria, Aviva Stadium, 5pm