The Irish Independent has reported that Martin O’Neill will not blood any new talent in the upcoming summer friendlies against Uruguay and Mexico.
The matches will mainly be used to give his first choice options some game time with the World Cup qualifier against Austria the main priority. Ireland play Mexico in the United States and Uruguay in the Aviva Stadium.
“We have a number of players who don’t play and haven’t been involved. That’s at championship level and it’s disappointing. That’s been a negative aspect in the last few weeks,” he said.
“It’s not the ideal time to be trying out players. It’s the lead up to a World Cup qualifier.
“There was the opportunity to play Mexico in America and that’s an ideal opportunity for lads involved in the championship who will have a couple of weeks off.
“I don’t want to be handing caps out to lads who might think that because they have a cap, they’ve made it.
“Obviously we’ve lost Seamus and David Meyler. Cyrus Christie came on as a sub for Derby last weekend which was something and I wouldn’t want to lose him to injury.
“Meyler is a loss to us about the squad. He’s very positive around the squad and he doesn’t even know that himself.
“As for Seamus, after the initial shock has worn off, I think he is as strong as ever and raring to go.”
The games could have been used as an opportunity to see some of Ireland’s emerging talent up close. Ryan Manning and Liam Kelly have made great strides this season and could have seen the games as an opportunity to stake a claim in this team.
Others such as Conor Hourihane and John Egan could have benefited from further caps following debuts against Iceland while in-form Daryl Horgan and Cillian Sheridan could also have hoped for a chance to impress.
However, given the crucial nature of the Austria tie, it could be a key exercise by O’Neill. The fact that ranking points are also up for grabs will also deter O’Neill blooding new talent given the loss against Iceland in Ireland’s last outing.
Nick Menezes, Pundit Arena
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we catch up with Cillian Sheridan, review all the latest fixtures and look ahead to this week’s League of Ireland matches.