Ireland may have failed to qualify for the last few major tournaments, but you would hope that the team will be in a better position by the time Euro 2028 rolls around.
The tournament could be held on Irish soil, with an Ireland and UK bid the current favourite to be granted hosting rights for the event. Should that turn out to be the case, Ireland will be in the mix for an automatic qualification spot as the second biggest contributors of stadia after England.
Regardless of whether the team qualifies automatically or not, they will fancy their chances of reaching the tournament. With a mix of already established players and potential emerging young stars, they have the potential to put together a very intriguing squad.
With the chance to play fixtures on home soil potentially on offer, we should be aiming to have a decent run at the tournament.
Here's the team to get it done.
The Ireland team to shine at Euro 2028
GK: Gavin Bazunu
It has perhaps gone under the radar somewhat, but it is worth pointing out that Gavin Bazunu has only started three games for Ireland over the last 15 months. Caoimhín Kelleher has also impressed during that spell when given the opportunity.
While the battle for the no. 1 jersey is still ongoing, you get the sense that Bazunu still has the edge in the long-term, especially with Kelleher's future at club level looking uncertain. It's worth mentioning that the Southampton man will only be 26-years old by the time this tournament rolls around.
Honourable mention: Caoimhín Kelleher
RB: Festy Ebosele
Right back has been a position of strength for Ireland over the last half decade or so, although change will be needed in the years ahead. The next qualification campaign seems likely to be Seamus Coleman's last, while Matt Doherty would also be 36-years old by the start of Euro 2028.
Despite having yet to be capped at senior level, Festy Ebosele seems well poised to eventually inherit this spot in the side. His playing time at Udinese has been limited this season, although he possesses all of the attributes to be a successful fullback in the modern game.
Honourable mention: Danny McNamara
CB: Nathan Collins (c)
Nathan Collins is likely to be the lynchpin of the Irish defence for the next decade. He is already a key player in the team under Stephen Kenny and he is a safe bet to be the next captain after Seamus Coleman and John Egan are no longer in the picture.
It is incredibly tough to predict what a team will look like in half a decade, but it would be a huge shock if the Wolves man were not a mainstay in the side at that point.
Honourable mention: Cathal Heffernan
CB: Dara O'Shea
Ireland are blessed with young centre backs at the moment, with both Dara O'Shea and Andrew Omobamidele having legitimate cases for this spot. O'Shea has the edge for now, largely due to his form this season and Omobamidele's recent injury issues.
It is certainly a nice problem for Stephen Kenny to have, one that could be remedied by persisting with a three-man defence in the long-term.
Honourable mention: Andrew Omobamidele
LB: Joel Bagan
Left back is probably the most difficult spot to predict in this side. James McClean and Robbie Brady, the two first choice options at the moment, are highly unlikely to still be in the international reckoning by 2028.
Ryan Manning is the obvious option, being only 26-years old and already having some Ireland experience. However, he has found playing time difficult to come by under Kenny.
Joel Bagan is a name to watch. He has been excellent for Cardiff City over the last 12 months or so and has already made his U21 debut under Jim Crawford. At 21-years old, he should be coming into his prime in around five years.
Honourable mention: Ryan Manning
DM: Josh Cullen
Josh Cullen would be the oldest member of this team, but it's difficult to see anyone usurping him from the side over the next half decade. He has been arguably Ireland's most consistent performer under Stephen Kenny and brings something different in comparison to the other midfield options in the squad.
He will be 32-years old in 2028, an age at which he could still be performing at a very high level.
Honourable mention: Conor Coventry
CM: Jason Knight
It's hard to believe that Jason Knight is still only 21-years old. He already has over 150 appearances under his belt at Derby County to go along with 17 Ireland caps.
He has yet to nail down a starting spot under Stephen Kenny, but having largely impressed whenever given an opportunity to play, you'd imagine that such a status is only around the corner.
Jayson Molumby will very much in mix for a spot in the midfield as well over the next half decade.
Honourable mention: Jayson Molumby
CM: Joe Hodge
He has yet to make his international debut, but Joe Hodge looks to have all the ingredients to be a mainstay in the Ireland team moving forward.
It is has been quite some time since we have had a midfielder who is capable of dictating the pace of play with their passing, something the 20-years has already has in his locker. He has already overcome some big injury issues at this point in his career and it is a huge relief to see the progress he has made since his move to Wolves.
It would be a major surprise if he were not given his debut next month, something that will hopefully set off a long and successful Ireland career.
Honourable mention: Will Smallbone
RW: Rocco Vata
Ireland have a shortage of wingers at the moment, something that has pushed Stephen Kenny towards using a back three with wingbacks. That could be set to change in the years ahead.
There are a number of exciting young Irish forward emerging at the minute, many of whom have the ability to operate across the front line. Rocco Vata is chief amongst them, with the Celtic player already attracting interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs.
Rocco Vata's goal last night💚 pic.twitter.com/9cG2LloyCB
— AnnFrances Murray (@AnnFrancesMurr3) December 11, 2021
Capable of playing central or out wide, the 17-year old is a hugely exciting prospect. If he can get a run of first team football under his belt, an international call-up may not be too far away.
Honourable mention: Chiedozie Ogbene
ST: Evan Ferguson
While Evan Ferguson only has a couple of senior caps under his belt, he looks to be among the safest bets to be in this team five years from now.
He possesses all of the qualities to become a top class striker, something that has been abundantly clear during his run in the Brighton team since the turn of the year. The Meath native already looks to have the starting spot up front nailed down ahead of the March internationals.
You'd imagine it would take quite a bit to wrestle that spot away from Ferguson in the future.
Honourable mention: Michael Obafemi/Adam Idah
LW: Kevin Zefi
Kevin Zefi is another player that falls into the category of young, exciting, versatile, emerging Irish talents. The 17-year old has already been making waves since his move to Inter Milan, being called into train with the first team on a number of occasions in recent times.
He looks like an absolutely incredible dribbler, causing havoc in the opposition defence whenever he gets the ball at his feet.
Stop that Kevin Zefi 🥵
— Football Report (@FootballReprt) October 4, 2022
The thoughts of seeing him pull on the green jersey at senior level is an exciting one and you would hope that he will have a decent amount of experience at that level by the time Euro 2028 comes around.
Honourable mention: Troy Parrott
The Team In Full
As you can see, there is no shortage of exciting Irish talents coming through at the moment.
That team would be a massively exciting one, with a number of other players in contention to be in the mix by the time Euro 2028 rolls around.
Onwards and upwards.