As Ireland’s European Qualifying campaign draws ever nearer, the talk continues to surround just who will be included in Mick McCarthy’s first squad as Ireland manager.
Beginning his second spell in charge of the Boys in Green, McCarthy is well aware of the job that faces him as he looks to secure Euro 2020 qualification before the end of his tenure in August of the same year.
McCarthy brought through a considerable amount of young talent during his first tenure and recruited many granny rule prospects to accompany the strong squad he had already developed.
But will the former Ipswich manager spring any surprises when he names his first squad for the games against Gibraltar and Georgia in March?
Here are five outside shouts McCarthy could include in his first Irish squad.
1) Troy Parrott
It’s inevitable that Tottenham striker Troy Parrott will become a major part of Irish squads in the future, however, will Mick McCarthy see him as a player who is ready for the first team squad at the age of just 17?
Parrott has been gaining tremendous hype over the last number of months, impressing hugely for the Spurs U18s, scoring 11 goals in just seven games, and edging ever closer to his first-team debut with Pochettino reportedly a huge fan of the Dubliner.
Whether McCarthy opts to introduce youth as he did in his first tenure with the likes of Gary Breen, Ian Harte and a certain 17-year-old Robbie Keane all receiving their debuts during his reign under the former Ipswich boss still remains to be seen.
There’s no doubt though that in a position where Ireland have massively struggled since Keane’s retirement, Parrott could be just the injection of youth that the Irish forward line need.
2) James Collins
Another man who could act as a remedy to Ireland’s goalscoring problems, Luton Town striker James Collins has been in tremendous form in League One this season.
McCarthy and his assistants have been to see Collins on a couple of occasions this season and will have surely impressed the new Irish boss with his 20 league goals this season.
Collins has never won an international cap but did appear for the Irish u21s and McCarthy could be keen to take advantage of the 28-year-old’s form.
3) Aiden McGeady
93 Irish caps to his name but without an appearance since coming on as a substitute in the 5-1 World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark over a year ago, Aiden McGeady could be in line for a return to the Boys in Green under Mick McCarthy.
McGeady may have fallen out of favour under Martin O’Neill but the winger has been in tremendous form for Sunderland in League One with his side sitting third in the division.
10 goals and five assists, as well as a copious amount of man of the match performances for the Black Cats, means that McGeady is one of the most in-form players in English football, regardless of the level he is playing at.
An option to keep an eye on.
4) Ryan Nolan
Another young up and coming star who you would hope will have a long career in the green of Ireland, Inter Milan’s Ryan Nolan could be a defensive prospect McCarthy may consider.
Hindered in the fact that he plays in continental Europe, Nolan has played for the Irish U17s and U18s but did not appear for the U19s and has not been called up to the U21s squad as of yet, but has been impressing for Inter Milan’s U19s, a side he captains on a regular basis.
Nolan would be an outside bet to be included certainly but he is a prospect who is gaining notoriety around Europe and in Ireland alike and could be included in McCarthy’s squad simply to gain the experience of being apart of the first team.
5) Daryl Murphy
Nottingham Forest striker Daryl Murphy may be retired from international football, but Mick McCarthy has already outlined that he would be keen on bringing the 35-year old back into the Irish fold.
Murphy is a burly target man the likes of which Ireland are currently without and played arguably the best football of his career while under McCarthy scoring 27 league goals in the 2014/2015 Championship season.
The 35-year old may not be a glamorous selection but he may be a necessary one, and even if McCarthy opts for an injection of youth he will still need the experience to back that up.