Many fresh faces among Martin O’Neill’s 19-man training squad
Young West Ham defender Declan Rice received his first senior call-up on Tuesday
West Ham United’s Declan Rice making his debut against Burnley on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters
The group of 19 players, almost all of them from the Championship, will be joined for Thursday’s session by Cork City goalkeepers Mark McNulty and Alan Smith with the pair then returning to their club in order to prepare for Friday’s league game against shamrock Rovers.
The only player from the English top flight involved on day one was Declan Rice, the young West Ham defender whose first senior call-up had only been officially announced on Tuesday morning.
The 18 year-old, who is regarded by his club as an outstanding prospect, was named as the FAI’s Under-17 Player of the Year for 2016 back in March and has featured prominently for the Irish Under-19s.
West Ham signed him a couple of seasons back from Chelsea where he was used as a defensive midfielder but he has since dropped back into central defence.
This season, he has captained the club’s Under-23 side despite his youth and he made his senior debut in West Ham’s game at Burnley over the weekend, coming on in the final minutes of the game.
Burnley’s Kevin Long is also involved but the rest of the training squad is, as Martin O’Neill had suggested last week it would be, made up of players from Championship clubs that were not involved in the play-offs.
Duffy returns having missed the tail-end of Brighton’s promotion winning campaign through injury while another of the manager’s late call-ups, Alan Browne of Preston, also played a part.
The group will break up on Thursday evening before a revised squad gathers on Sunday in Dublin ahead of Monday’s departure for the United States where Ireland are due to play Mexico next Thursday.
It is not yet clear how many senior players O’Neill intends to bring to New Jersey or how many of the current group will remain with the squad right through until the Austria game on June 11th.
Training Squad: Mark McNulty, Alan Smith (both Cork City); Cyrus Christie, Alex Pearce, Richard Keogh (all Derby County), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Andy Boyle (Preston North End), Kevin Long (Burnley) Declan Rice (West Ham United), John Egan (Brentford); Eunan O’Kane (Leeds United), Alan Browne, Daryl Horgan (Preston North End), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City); David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Daryl Murphy (Newcastle United).