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The Stupidly Early Ireland Squad Prediction For Euro 2016

The Stupidly Early Ireland Squad Prediction For Euro 2016
By Jeremy Fullam

Now that we have qualified for the Euro's next year it's time for the squads fringe players to step up and make an impression before Martin O'Neill names his final 23 next Summer.

Players like Aiden McGeady and Alex Pearce really need to get some games under their belt or else they're at serious risk of missing out.

McGeady was one of our most important players at the start of qualification but now the Everton winger is very much on the periphery, and if his current club situation continues the way it is it's hard for his inclusion to be warranted.

There's also a whole host of players who are impressing for their clubs sides at the moment who are somewhat inexperienced at international level. Brentford's Alan Judge was just named as the Championship player of the month, whilst Harry Arter has looked impressive for Premier League Bournemouth since returning from injury.

We'll be keeping you regularly updated with who's performing and who isn't between now and the end of the season, but if the squad was to be announced tomorrow here's what we think it might look like.

Goalkeepers

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Darren Randolph, Rob Elliot, Shay Given

Darren Randolph is likely to go into the tournament as our number one keeper following impressive displays against Germany and Bosnia. The only issue for the Bray man is that he is currently behind Adrian at West Ham and unless the Spaniard picks up an injury sometime soon, he's likely to stay there.

We've already spoken how an exception must be made for Randolph, but a short term loan move would be very beneficial for everyone involved.

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Newcastle's third choice keeper Rob Elliot has looked impressive in the absence of Tim Krul and Karl Darlow and warrants his inclusion in the squad. Kieren Westwood is a regular in the Championship for Sheffield Wednesday but is not to Martin O'Neill's liking for whatever reason.

Given gets the nod as squad guy #1

Defenders

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John O'Shea, Seamus Coleman, Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, Ciaran Clark, Stephen Ward, Marc Wilson

Our defence was extremely solid throughout qualification as we conceded only seven goals during the entire campaign, which was less than any other team.

With such an impressive defensive record it's hard to see Martin O'Neill straying too far from the players that performed so well for him en route to France.

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The only one in real danger of losing his place here is Stephen Ward, the left back has hardly kicked a ball for Burnley this season and is in desperate need of regular football. Nevertheless he featured in some of the biggest games in qualification so O'Neill clearly has faith in him.

Midfielders

Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady, Wes Hoolahan, Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, James McClean, David Meyler, Harry Arter, Aiden McGeady

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The core of the midfield picks itself, every midfielder who featured against Bosnia will be on the plane, barring any serious injuries or blackmail cases.

This leaves space for three midfielders to make a late charge into the side and we've gone for Bournemouth's Harry Arter, David Meyler and Aidan McGeady.

Arter was one of the key performers in Bournemouth's Championship winning side last season and he's looked very impressive on his return from a long term injury.

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Meyler is a regular for a Hull side who look destined to gain promotion to the Premier League this season and the Cork native is one of Roy Keane's favourites.

Lastly we've gone for Aidan McGeady, the man who splits public opinion. There's no doubting McGeady's quality and we owe him so much for getting us to France, but he's so far down the pecking order at Everton it's worrying.

We can see a January move on the horizon for the Everton man which will rejuvenate the winger and cement his place in the 23.

Alan Judge has been pulling up a few trees for Brentford in the Championship and he'll be hot on the heels of anyone who slips up but he looks set to just miss out on the final cut.

Forwards

Jon Walters, Daryl Murphy, Shane Long, Robbie Keane

This is the most obvious selection O'Neill has to make. So long as these four stay fit they'll be on the plane, regardless of form. There's no other Irish strikers making waves at the moment and Jon Walters and Shane Long were two of our best players in the qualification campaign.

Daryl Murphy's goal return at international level is non existent but he offers us the old football cliché of "something different" and that'll be enough to put him on the plane.

Robbie Keane will get the nod as squad guy #2.

Read Also:The 5 Irish Players Whose Stock Rose The Most During Euro 2016 Qualification

Read Also:The Play-Off Decisions That Show Why Martin O'Neill Is Ireland's Unheralded Hero

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