Irish Players That Need To Be Capped This Year
February 18, 2018 (No Comments) by Stephen Kierans

For the last few years, the Ireland national squad has been crying out for a revamp. The introduction of fresh, hungry, young new talent is something that we are in dire need of. With such an ageing squad , it is still baffling that the wide array of talent is being overlooked. Trapattoni was long criticised for this as he tended to stick with his experienced players whilst disregarding young talent coming through. Players like James McCarthy, Robbie Brady and Séamus Coleman were just a few of those victims, some of our best players now. Trapattoni’s blindness to this as well as poor campaigns inevitably ended in him losing the job.

With the introduction of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, we had new hope and a complete revamp was to be expected. However, this wasn’t to be the case as the same players from Trapattoni’s era still dominated the Ireland squad excluding those who had retired. Although new faces have been introduced, it is still the older players being played ahead of the young. Now that our poor World Cup campaign is over, it is time to introduce a rake of new faces into the squad and insert a bit of much needed energy and pace into our team. Here is our list of uncapped Irish players that Martin O’Neill should consider introducing to the team as soon as possible.

Kieran O’Hara

kieran-ohara

O’Hara is a young goalkeeper who is representing Manchester United at Under 23s, aged 21. His size, age and experience from training with the Man United squad could see him soon introduced to the national team. He was included in United’s Champions League squad this season, as José Mourinho has seen something about him that he rates highly. He is yet to get a start for the Red Devil’s and has been sent on numerous loans to get game-time. He could be a real option for Ireland as Randolph is nearing retirement age around the same time O’Hara could be coming of age.

Conor Masterson

conor-masterson

Conor Masterson has been hailed as Ireland’s next big thing. The 20 year old from Dublin was snatched up by Liverpool at 13 for €1 million to fight off competition from rivals getting the young talent. He didn’t actually join Liverpool until he was 16 but the price tag over him hasn’t hampered his performance as he has won Liverpool U16 player of the year, was the Liverpool Under 18 captain and was then promoted to the under 23 squad last year. He was also included in the Liverpool Champions League squad this season to top off his accolades. He has played with Ireland from under 17-21 and is a big contender to fill the boots of Richard Dunne and John O’Shea as Ireland’s next top centre half. He needs to be introduced into the Irish squad sooner rather than later.

Declan Rice

declan-rice

“The next Rio Ferdinand” were the words used to describe West Ham’s latest young talent coming through the ranks. Rice broke into the West Ham first team this season putting in an excellent performance against league leaders Man City. He has represented Ireland at Under 16 level through to under 21 level. He has won West Ham young player of the year along with Ireland under 17 player of the year. He is only 19 years old but has already established himself as one of the biggest talents coming through the ranks. He would be an excellent partner alongside Masterson as they both play together for the Ireland Under 21s and could soon play together for the main team in the future.

Derrick Williams

Image result for derrick williams blackburn rovers

Williams is an experienced left back aged 25 who has made a name for himself at Blackburn Rovers, becoming their starting full back in each game this season. He won their player of the year in 2016 and has nailed down his place in the team since. Considering Ireland need a good left back and not a makeshift one, Williams is a perfect candidate to run the lines with Coleman. He has represented Ireland at underage level but never broke into the main squad. Now could be his opportunity and hopefully he is being considered as an option.

Josh Cullen

Currently with West Ham, Cullen aged 21 has represented Ireland at underage level. He is predominantly a midfielder but can also play centre back. Having found game time limited with the Hammers, he has had successful loan spells. One of which included included a successful spell at Bradford, where he won their player of the month while making 55 appearances. He has been highly rated by some experienced coaches and as is also eligible to play for England. Martin O’Neill needs to keep tabs on this lad and try introduce him to the squad asap to keep him from the clutches of the Three Lions.

Chris Forrester

chris-forrester

Chris Forrester made a name for himself playing for Bohemians and St.Patrick’s Athletic in the Airtricity league. He made over 100 appearances for Pats, bagging 37 goals to place himself as one of the best to grace the Irish league. And like most stand out talent in Ireland, he was scooped up by an English club ,when Peterborough United came knocking in 2015. Though many didn’t expect him to do so well in England , he has become a standout player for the League one club and has already made 92 appearances for The Posh. Now aged 25, he is yet to make the step up to the national team, being overlooked like most League of Ireland players. He would be an excellent option to have in midfield, a Wes Hoolahan type player, here’s hoping he finally gets a call up.

Georgie Poynton

Georgie Poynton, only 20 years old has already made a name for himself in the Airtricity league. For Ireland underage, he was the Under 19 captain and won Irish player of the year in 2016 at that grade. He signed for Dundalk F.C when he was just 16 and even got his first team start at the same age. Recently, due to Dundalk’s wide array of League winning stars, Poynton has found his game time limited and therefore went on loan to Bohemians where he became a regular for the gypsies who went on to finish in fifth spot. His highlight of the season came when he ended Cork City’s 26 game unbeaten run after slotting home from the spot, scoring the only goal of the game. He has since re-signed for Dundalk and is optimistic he can break into the team this season. Georgie is an exciting young midfielder who I am sure Martin and Roy are keeping an eye on.

Aiden O’Brien

aiden-obrien

Finally, we have a striker. Currently playing his trade at Millwall, O’Brien has made 116 appearances, scoring 27 goals in his time at The Den. He has represented Ireland at under 17 through to under 21s. He is quite possibly our best option to add to the Irish front line as we are in desperate need of a goalscorer. Although, it seems that Sean Maguire is ahead of him in the pecking order after getting his first cap in the last set of qualifiers. We will just have to wait and see if a call up happens in the future.

These players are the new breed of Irish footballers who need to be considered with the next squad selections. Some of them could make a big impact given the chance, I just hope that unlike the past, our young talent is given a chance on the big stage to prove themselves.

Stephen Kierans
Stephen Kierans is an Irish journalist from Louth with an obsession of sport and fitness while also writing some lifestyle and tech piece

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Irish Players That Need To Be Capped This Year
February 18, 2018 (No Comments) by Stephen Kierans

For the last few years, the Ireland national squad has been crying out for a revamp. The introduction of fresh, hungry, young new talent is something that we are in dire need of. With such an ageing squad , it is still baffling that the wide array of talent is being overlooked. Trapattoni was long criticised for this as he tended to stick with his experienced players whilst disregarding young talent coming through. Players like James McCarthy, Robbie Brady and Séamus Coleman were just a few of those victims, some of our best players now. Trapattoni’s blindness to this as well as poor campaigns inevitably ended in him losing the job.

With the introduction of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, we had new hope and a complete revamp was to be expected. However, this wasn’t to be the case as the same players from Trapattoni’s era still dominated the Ireland squad excluding those who had retired. Although new faces have been introduced, it is still the older players being played ahead of the young. Now that our poor World Cup campaign is over, it is time to introduce a rake of new faces into the squad and insert a bit of much needed energy and pace into our team. Here is our list of uncapped Irish players that Martin O’Neill should consider introducing to the team as soon as possible.

Kieran O’Hara

kieran-ohara

O’Hara is a young goalkeeper who is representing Manchester United at Under 23s, aged 21. His size, age and experience from training with the Man United squad could see him soon introduced to the national team. He was included in United’s Champions League squad this season, as José Mourinho has seen something about him that he rates highly. He is yet to get a start for the Red Devil’s and has been sent on numerous loans to get game-time. He could be a real option for Ireland as Randolph is nearing retirement age around the same time O’Hara could be coming of age.

Conor Masterson

conor-masterson

Conor Masterson has been hailed as Ireland’s next big thing. The 20 year old from Dublin was snatched up by Liverpool at 13 for €1 million to fight off competition from rivals getting the young talent. He didn’t actually join Liverpool until he was 16 but the price tag over him hasn’t hampered his performance as he has won Liverpool U16 player of the year, was the Liverpool Under 18 captain and was then promoted to the under 23 squad last year. He was also included in the Liverpool Champions League squad this season to top off his accolades. He has played with Ireland from under 17-21 and is a big contender to fill the boots of Richard Dunne and John O’Shea as Ireland’s next top centre half. He needs to be introduced into the Irish squad sooner rather than later.

Declan Rice

declan-rice

“The next Rio Ferdinand” were the words used to describe West Ham’s latest young talent coming through the ranks. Rice broke into the West Ham first team this season putting in an excellent performance against league leaders Man City. He has represented Ireland at Under 16 level through to under 21 level. He has won West Ham young player of the year along with Ireland under 17 player of the year. He is only 19 years old but has already established himself as one of the biggest talents coming through the ranks. He would be an excellent partner alongside Masterson as they both play together for the Ireland Under 21s and could soon play together for the main team in the future.

Derrick Williams

Image result for derrick williams blackburn rovers

Williams is an experienced left back aged 25 who has made a name for himself at Blackburn Rovers, becoming their starting full back in each game this season. He won their player of the year in 2016 and has nailed down his place in the team since. Considering Ireland need a good left back and not a makeshift one, Williams is a perfect candidate to run the lines with Coleman. He has represented Ireland at underage level but never broke into the main squad. Now could be his opportunity and hopefully he is being considered as an option.

Josh Cullen

Currently with West Ham, Cullen aged 21 has represented Ireland at underage level. He is predominantly a midfielder but can also play centre back. Having found game time limited with the Hammers, he has had successful loan spells. One of which included included a successful spell at Bradford, where he won their player of the month while making 55 appearances. He has been highly rated by some experienced coaches and as is also eligible to play for England. Martin O’Neill needs to keep tabs on this lad and try introduce him to the squad asap to keep him from the clutches of the Three Lions.

Chris Forrester

chris-forrester

Chris Forrester made a name for himself playing for Bohemians and St.Patrick’s Athletic in the Airtricity league. He made over 100 appearances for Pats, bagging 37 goals to place himself as one of the best to grace the Irish league. And like most stand out talent in Ireland, he was scooped up by an English club ,when Peterborough United came knocking in 2015. Though many didn’t expect him to do so well in England , he has become a standout player for the League one club and has already made 92 appearances for The Posh. Now aged 25, he is yet to make the step up to the national team, being overlooked like most League of Ireland players. He would be an excellent option to have in midfield, a Wes Hoolahan type player, here’s hoping he finally gets a call up.

Georgie Poynton

Georgie Poynton, only 20 years old has already made a name for himself in the Airtricity league. For Ireland underage, he was the Under 19 captain and won Irish player of the year in 2016 at that grade. He signed for Dundalk F.C when he was just 16 and even got his first team start at the same age. Recently, due to Dundalk’s wide array of League winning stars, Poynton has found his game time limited and therefore went on loan to Bohemians where he became a regular for the gypsies who went on to finish in fifth spot. His highlight of the season came when he ended Cork City’s 26 game unbeaten run after slotting home from the spot, scoring the only goal of the game. He has since re-signed for Dundalk and is optimistic he can break into the team this season. Georgie is an exciting young midfielder who I am sure Martin and Roy are keeping an eye on.

Aiden O’Brien

aiden-obrien

Finally, we have a striker. Currently playing his trade at Millwall, O’Brien has made 116 appearances, scoring 27 goals in his time at The Den. He has represented Ireland at under 17 through to under 21s. He is quite possibly our best option to add to the Irish front line as we are in desperate need of a goalscorer. Although, it seems that Sean Maguire is ahead of him in the pecking order after getting his first cap in the last set of qualifiers. We will just have to wait and see if a call up happens in the future.

These players are the new breed of Irish footballers who need to be considered with the next squad selections. Some of them could make a big impact given the chance, I just hope that unlike the past, our young talent is given a chance on the big stage to prove themselves.

Stephen Kierans
Stephen Kierans is an Irish journalist from Louth with an obsession of sport and fitness while also writing some lifestyle and tech piece

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