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A Euro 2016 Spot Is Waiting But Richie Towell Has To Get Past A Lot Of Players First

Gary Reilly
By Gary Reilly
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He's not short on confidence anyway. It was only a few short weeks ago that we were all scratching our heads that Bristol Rovers were in for Richie Towell but that was never going to happen. The 24 year old has played his cards very well to this point in his career and there was no way he was going to take that kind of step when he has international honours on his mind.

Towell has been fully up front with the fact that he believes he's good enough to get into the Euro 2016 squad. That may well be true but there's a lot that needs to happen before that comes to pass. He needs to break into the Brighton team for one.

He'll be given a bit of a rest before joining up with his new teammates and even then he won't be able to play until the transfer window reopens in January. With Brighton flying high at the top of the Championship, there's no real reason for Chris Hughton to change a winning formula. He needs reinforcements, not a change of system.

Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens have been doing a decent job in central midfield. 18 games into the new season and zero defeats would suggest that there's not too much wrong with what they've been doing so where does that leave Towell?

At Dundalk he transformed himself into an all action midfielder who was as happy to leave a boot in as he was to pop up on the edge of the box to get his name on the scoresheet. He may have taken the League of Ireland by storm but it's going to be another step up in the Championship. Having said that, the games stack up and it seems he's currently going in to challenge the incumbent midfield partnership. That's going to be his biggest challenge for the second half of the season and if he even gets ten Championship appearances it will be an excellent start.

But Towell is aiming higher. He wants international recognition before the Euros and there's currently only one game scheduled to make his mark. Martin O'Neill could well give Towell the chance to impress against Switzerland on March 25th but there's already a number of midfielders waiting in line.

We've already made our stupidly early squad prediction and it shows that, if there is room for a bolter, it will be a creative central midfielder.


Here's our prediction as things stand.

Hendrick, Brady, Hoolahan, McClean, McCarthy and Whelan are certainties. If Aiden McGeady can get a move in January then you have to think his ability from wide will see him through to the final 23. That leaves two spots left for Towell to fight for. He may have the confidence, but when you see the established players ahead of him, Towell's chances of making it to France become less clear.


Harry Arter 

The creative midfielder that we're expecting to take the position that Towell may have his eye on. Injured for the start of the Premier League campaign, Arter has now regained his place at the heart of the Bournemouth midfield and he's getting up to speed quickly.


Towell could well take to English football like a duck to water but if Arter is doing his stuff in the Premier League it's unlikely he'll be able to dislodge the Bournemouth man.

David Meyler


Who says he has to dislodge Arter though? O'Neill could well take a look at Towell between now and the summer and decide he's the kind of player he doesn't have. He has the Arters and the Hoolahans, he has the McCarthys and the Whelans but does he have someone to bridge those two kinds of player?

He probably does in the shape of Jeff Hendrick but there's still room for David Meyler shaped player on the plane. That could be Towell but with Meyler impressing for Hull at the top of the Championship, it will take an awful lot for Towell to leapfrog the Cork man.


Darron Gibson


The slightly forgotten man of Irish football. His addition to the Bosnia squad was a quiet reminder that the Derry man is still there and still in with a shout of making the final 23 man squad. Roy Keane included Gibson in his three man list who could do with January transfers so there's no doubt that he's in the mind of the management team.

If he can get that move, particularly to a Premier League team, there's every chance Gibson can regain some of the form from the start of his spell with Everton. If he can do that then we wouldn't put it past him sneaking his way in.


Alan Judge

The bolter that everyone is talking about. The Brentford man has yet to be capped but he's well and truly tearing it up in the Championship this season. He's worked away in the lower leagues and things are starting to pay off for him big time.

Having said that, at 27 and with no senior international experience, it's asking a lot for Judge to make the next step. However, he's solidified himself in English football and is making a name for himself in the Championship, Towell could do a lot worse than look to Judge as an example of what is an acceptable career path over the next couple of years.

Stephen Quinn

At the start of the campaign, Quinn was a key member of the Ireland squad. He started the 1-1 draw in Gelsenkirchen and it seemed likely that, if Ireland were to qualify, Quinn would at least make the final 23. After an unfortunate run of injuries that's looking far from certain.

O'Neill may like Quinn's discipline but Jeff Hendrick has filled that role with aplomb and as we've seen, a number of other players have leapfrogged the Reading man in the midfield standings.

Eunan O'Kane

Called into the preliminary squad for the Gibraltar and Georgia games, O'Kane is in the enviable situation of being in and around the Premier League in the build up to a European campaign. With Arter having regained his position in the first team, it's unlikely O'Kane will be able to force his way into O'Neill's plans but a run of Premier League appearances can do an awful lot for you confidence so we won't entirely rule him out just yet.

Stephen Gleeson 

There's no real reason to add Gleeson here other than to display just how difficult it's going to be for Towell to make the big jump from League of Ireland star to Euro 2016 squad member. The Birmingham midfielder last week suggested that it would be easier to break into the England squad considering the lack of chances being given to Irish fringe players.

Gleeson has been very impressive for Birmingham this season. He's become an impressive Championship midfielder. If Towell is at that level by the end of the season then he's doing very well. To get into the Euro 2016 squad when Gleeson can't even get a mention is an indication of just how lofty Towell's immediate ambitions are.

All in all, that's seven players and two spots before you even consider the now former Dundalk man. There's no harm in aiming for the stars but we certainly won't be expecting to see Towell line out for Ireland at the European Championships next summer. If he does then, he's going to have to take the English football by storm. Anyone who's watched him over the past couple of seasons knows he has the ability but it's a big ask to do that in less than six months.

See Also: Richie Towell Has Completed His Big Championship Move - Next Stop Euro 2016?

See Also: The Stupidly Early Ireland Squad Predition For Euro 2016

See Also: Irish Midfielder Explains Why It's 'Easier To Get Into The England Squad'


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