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The Main Talking Points From The Ireland Squad Announcement

The Main Talking Points From The Ireland Squad Announcement
By Gary Reilly Updated

The squad has been named to take on the Netherlands at the end of the month and, as usual, there's many more questions than there are answers. O'Neill managed to cut things down to 35 but there's still an awful lot of work to do to get that down to 23 by May 28th and today's announcement has left us all with quite a few talking points to mull over.

No Scott Hogan

We all love the possibility of a bolter but this would have been taking things a little bit too far. Up until a couple of weeks ago, there's not too many Ireland fans who could legitimately claim to know anything about the 24 year old. However, his goalscoring form since his return from injury has been nothing short of remarkable and, all of a sudden, we were whipping out the suitcases and jumping aboard the Hogan bandwagon.

And we had every reason to do just that but the Euros have simply come too soon for Hogan. He still has his Irish passport from when he was called up to the u21s and O'Neill did admit that he gave it some serious thought. As such, we'd very much advise keeping hold of that bandwagon ticket for the World Cup qualifiers.


Who's Callum O'Dowda?

That sounds a bit harsh but it's not supposed to be. It's simply a reality of the situation that Ireland's current u21 crop aren't exactly being picked through every other week to see who we can count upon in the near future. The fact that O'Dowda has been plying his trade in League Two with Oxford United is another understandable reason why he hasn't exactly been on everyone's radar. We've gone into a little bit more detail about O'Dowda here.

A tricky winger with an eye for a goal (surely the most overused statement when trying to describe a player you know sweet feck all about) O'Dowda is part of the squad for the experience and little else. Much like Chris Forrester last time around, it's highly unlikely the 21 year old will make it onto the field against the Dutch and there's absolutely no chance that he's in O'Neill's thinking for France but nonetheless, it's will be a great experience for him and now that he's helped fire Oxford to League One, he's definitely one to keep an eye on going forward.


Sticking with what we know at left back

Matt Doherty and Greg Cunningham have both had stellar seasons at left back in the Championship. With Player of the Year awards at Wolves and Preston respectively, one of our real problem positions doesn't actually look as problematic as we had expected. But that's not to say that O'Neill is ready to test new options at this stage of his preparations.

Ward and Brady are likely to be fighting it out for the left back spot, depending on where O'Neill sees the Norwich man fitting into the starting XI and the absence of either Doherty and Cunningham is also good news for Marc Wilson who, if he can prove his fitness, has a good chance of scraping into the final squad owing to his versatility across the back four.


Harry Arter will finally get a chance to prove what we all suspect

If we were going on form this season, Harry Arter would be a guaranteed starter for Ireland in France. However, the fact remains that his injury troubles means it's been next to impossible to get him into a green shirt. There'll be no dislodging Whelan and McCarthy from the middle but the roving right side Hendrick role has Arter's name written all over it and if he can stay fit and put in a performance against the Dutch, there's every reason to think that he could overtake the Derby man in the pecking order.

If all the focus was on Alan Judge heading into March friendlies then, this time around, it's Arter's turn to prove that, not only is he worthy of a squad place, but he can force his way into the starting lineup.


We're no clearer on the goalkeeping situation

Three spots and, in truth, there's only one that you could say is definitely going to be on the plane. Randolph will start but after that it's a case of trying to second guess Martin O'Neill. Kieran Westwood should be included but the fact that he was dropped from the squad to face Switzerland and Slovakia ensured that it looked like he could start booking his summer holidays.

However, Rob Elliot suffered that incredibly unfortunate injury. Shay Given's return to the Stoke team didn't last very long and all of a sudden, Westwood is back in the frame. If we had to make a call however, we'd be siding with the possibility that Randolph will start, Given will be trusted as back up and Forde will be included in the Alan Kelly role.


A squad without Simon Cox or Paul Green

Green and Cox deserve every respect for representing Ireland to the best of their abilities which it is why it's only fair that a bit of a running joke that has finally come to an end. Everyone of O'Neill's squads seems to include the stalwarts of the Trapattoni era despite the fact that we all know they'll be cut before it actually gets down to it. Thankfully O'Neill ha decided against it this time around and we can all move on and thank Green and Cox for their past contributions to Ireland.

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