Close sidebar

A really encouraging time for Stephen Kenny.

Heading into the September international break, Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has yet another selection headache to contend with following the return from injury and form of Andrew Omobamidele.

Omobamidele made his Ireland debut just under a year ago, and has impressed any time he has put on the green jersey for Kenny’s new-look side.

However, his progress was halted somewhat by the unfortunate injury he picked up midway through the 2021/22 Premier League season at Norwich City.

Andrew Omobamidele’s return.

But he has recovered well from that setback, and is now playing a key role for the Canaries in their quest to get promoted back to the Premier League from the Championship.

On Tuesday evening, the former Leixlip United schoolboy scored for Norwich in their dramatic 2-1 win away to Birmingham City – shortly after battling back from an injury niggle that kept him out for a few days.

In doing so, he is once again proving his worth, not only to his club, but also to the international fold with Ireland.

Prior to his injury, Omobamidele played in almost all of Ireland’s games towards the end of the 2021 calendar year, with his debut coming against Portugal in Faro.

However, there were fears that he would slip back down in the pecking order following his injury, and the subsequent rise of his Ireland international teammate Nathan Collins.

Nathan Collins Wolves

But based on his recent performances, and the manner of his return from injury – that fear is receding quickly.

So much so, his performances at the moment are very hard to ignore in regards to his place in Stephen Kenny’s starting XI for the two upcoming Uefa Nations League games against Scotland and Armenia.

Stick or twist?

Kenny has often opted to play Shane Duffy and John Egan for the last while, with one of Collins or Omobamidele slotting in as the third centre-back.

Seamus Coleman has done similar, although that is not his natural position even if he can perform a solid job in that role. But heading into this short window of games, Kenny may have to shuffle his pack.

Stephen Kenny Ireland 1

Egan is likely to retain his role in the Ireland starting XI, as is the aforementioned Collins after the Wolves defender’s solid start to life in the Premier League.

And with the continued absence of Duffy from a Premier League starting side, Omobamidele may be best placed to take the on-loan Fulham defender’s role for the two games. Dara O’Shea could be in with a shout of that too, in truth.

Omobamidele has proven before that he can make the step up to the big stage with Ireland – just like Duffy has on more than a number of occasions.

Saying that, Kenny may opt for Duffy’s experience over Omobamidele, or even O’Shea, for the Scotland game in particular, and there would be no qualms if he did so.

But at the same time, Omobamidele’s return from injury and instant return to form is going to provide the Ireland boss with a really good selection headache heading into an important two games.

This is a cookie notice. You can replace this cookie notice easily using the theme options from within your WordPress control panel. It will only appear once, with acceptance of the form stored locally.