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Martin O'Neill Names His Squad Today And There's One Man Back In Everyone's Mind

Gary Reilly
By Gary Reilly
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Later today, Martin O'Neill will name one of his bumper provisional squads for the EURO 2016 qualifiers against Georgia and Gibraltar. As we all know by now, these announcements tend to include every Irish eligible footballer playing in England provided they are of Championship standard or higher.

Granted that may be stretching the truth a little bit but there's no doubt O'Neill does like to keep his options open when it comes to his final squads. The likes of Simon Cox and Conor Sammon tend to be included with little chance of making the final squad but the talk is inevitably about those that aren't in the squad as opposed to those who are.

The hot button topic over the past few squad announcements has certainly been Jack Grealish but anticipation is building that there'll be someone else to ask about this time around. However, that's not to say he'll be a new name.

When Martin O'Neill took over, he fielded the Stephen Ireland questions in predictable manner. The door would not be closed indefinitely but he certainly wouldn't be chasing him down to change his mind. Ireland has long contended that he wanted to concentrate on his club commitments and it looked like that was that.

However, then Ireland played a starring role in Stoke draw with Spurs at the weekend and the idea cropped up once more.


There's no doubt about, O'Neill will be asked about Ireland today and unless he has a surprise for us, he will dismiss the question with a 'nothing has changed with regard to Stephen Ireland'. And that is something that former Ireland international Paddy Mulligan does not want to see changed.

Speaking to Newstalk, Mulligan was very clear with just what he thinks about the Stoke man who he says is 'past his sell-by-date in the Irish jersey and maybe in the Stoke team as well'.


His attitude is deplorable because he really should be one of the top players in the Premier League. And he's not, through his own fault and antics on and off the pitch.

I wouldn't have Stephen Ireland near an Ireland setup. I think Martin O'Neill would be of the same mind.

So that's a no from Mulligan but there's no doubt quite a few people would like to see Ireland make a return to the Irish midfield. Considering the lack of creative midfield options at our disposal, that's understandable. However, although he'll be asked, we're going to assume that O'Neill will be much more inclined to put some faith in the likes of Eunan O'Kane and Harry Arter.



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