Ireland have been steadily building an exciting squad under Stephen Kenny over the last few years. While results have largely been mixed up to this point in his tenure, the former Dundalk boss has massively refreshed the team.
Such a process was long overdue. Consecutive Ireland managers had prioritised short-term results over long-term improvement, something that resulted in a negative playing style and young players being frozen out of the squad.
All of that has changed under Kenny. For the Euro 2024 qualifier against France back in March, eight members of the starting XI were aged 26-years old or younger.
As a result of that process, the team now looks to be in a good place moving forward in most areas of the pitch.
One position that could do with some improvements is left back. James McClean has played well in a wingback role for Ireland recently, although he is now coming towards the end of his career at 34-years old. Callum O'Dowda is another option, although it is not his natural position and he is injury prone.
Ryan Manning seems like an obvious solution. His form has been brilliant this season, although he will not feature in the qualifiers later this month due to personal reasons.
As for other options, it seems Ireland are keeping an eye on one emerging talent.
Stephen Kenny hints at Ireland interest in Championship defender
Dennis Cirkin is someone who has been discussed among Ireland fans in recent years. Coming through the ranks at Spurs, the left back is eligible to play for the Boys in Green having been born in Dublin to Latvian parents before moving to London at three-years old.
He was sold to Sunderland in 2021, although Tottenham did include a £6million buy-back clause in the deal. He has since excelled at the Stadium of Light, helping them to promotion from League One last season before recently leading them to the Championship play-offs.
WHAT A HUGE WIN FOR SUNDERLAND!!!!
DENNIS CIRKIN SETS THE SUNDERLAND AWAY END OFF!!! 🐈⬛ pic.twitter.com/1cnDrU22fy
— Footy Limbs (@FootyLimbs) April 23, 2023
He has represented England up to U20 level. Now 21-years old, there were some rumours that Ireland were intending to speak to the player about making an international switch.
Speaking after his squad announcement on Thursday afternoon, Stephen Kenny hinted that Cirkin was someone he would consider bringing on board.
I know all about Dennis. He declared for England, so we’ll have to see on that one.
He’s just focussing on Sunderland this season. I’ve asked that question and I’m not even 100% sure. It’s yet to be confirmed that he can switch and he hasn’t applied to do so.
Latvia are also sure to be interested in recruiting Cirkin, whose last England appearance came at U20 level back in 2021.
The FAI are sure to be maintaining a constant dialogue about the possibility of the player making an international switch.