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Stephen Kenny Explains Reasoning Behind Two Snubs From Ireland Squad

Stephen Kenny Explains Reasoning Behind Two Snubs From Ireland Squad
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Stephen Kenny named his Ireland squad for the games against Latvia and France earlier this afternoon, releasing an interesting 26-man panel for the fixtures later this month.

Mikey Johnston has been included after his recent switch from Scotland, with Will Smallbone the other uncapped player on the list.

The squad was largely as expected, with Shane Duffy, Aaron Connolly, Enda Stevens, and Callum Robinson all missing out due to injury. Of those who were available for selection, Ryan Manning and Robbie Brady were the two most notable absentees.

Manning has been among the best wingbacks in the Championship this season, starring for Swansea City. As for Brady, he has long been a nailed on inclusion in Ireland squad and has recovered from his injury issues to make 28 appearances in the league for Preston since the start of the campaign.


What's more, both of those players can play at left wingback, a position in the team where Ireland have often been short in recent seasons.

Kenny explains Ryan Manning & Robbie Brady Ireland absences 

James McClean and Callum O'Dowda will be the two options at left wingback for the upcoming games, and while both men have played there at club level, neither are natural wingbacks.

That's why it was such a shock to see Manning excluded, while Brady's ability to cover a number of positions means that it is a big call to leave him out.


Speaking at his squad unveiling this afternoon, Stephen Kenny explained how the form of O'Dowda at Cardiff City this season had essentially edged both players out of the squad.

We have several players in that position. It's very tight, a lot of players in the Championship.

I think it's just Callum O'Dowda's form. Callum in my opinion has been Cardiff City's player of the year, he offers us something different. He's quick, dribbles at pace and is very direct. He's a different type of player.

Ryan is an excellent player as well, offering different qualities where he comes on the inside and plays. He's a really good footballer...

It's a similar situation (for Robbie Brady) with Callum O'Dowda in that left wingback position. Robbie had a really good spell early in the season for Preston, I thought he was really good. I was full of admiration for how he was playing.

In recent weeks he hasn't been in the team, although he did play in midweek. We have been at a lot of Preston games because they've got a lot of our players.

These are the fine margins.

Judging by those comments, it seems likely that Callum O'Dowda will be the man to start at left wingback against France in the qualifier on Monday week.

It will certainly be no easy task when you consider the quality on show in the French squad in wide areas.


SEE ALSO: Irish U19 Boss Says FAI Didn't 'Break Any Rules' By Recruiting Northern Ireland Starlet

ireland u19 manager sean moore


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