Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has explained his reasoning behind selecting QPR left-back Ryan Manning in his senior squad for the first time following the 23-year-old’s impressive displays at club level.
Manning was included in McCarthy’s provisional 39-man squad ahead of the upcoming Aviva doubleheader against New Zealand and Denmark as the Boys in Green look to bounce back from their last two disappointing results in European qualifying.
The QPR man has been in sensational form this season after manager Mark Warburton switched him from a midfielder to a left-back, with Manning excelling from an attacking perspective.
Manning’s move to a more defensive role has put him on McCarthy’s radar, with the former Galway United man hoping to make his international debut in the friendly against New Zealand.
The 23-year-old’s versatility and ability from dead-balls has been a massive benefit to his club side this season while he has held his own well on the defensive end also.
Speaking as he named his squad on Tuesday afternoon, McCarthy highlighted what he enjoyed about Manning’s game but admitted that, as a left-back, he isn’t better than current first choice Enda Stevens.
“Look he’s a midfield player that has gone and played left-wing back. I’ve seen him a couple of times, the first time he didn’t (impress), I saw him then against Reading and he did far better in that game.
“He’s technically good, he’s got a good left foot, as a left-back he’s not better than Enda Stevens that’s for sure, but he’s an option for me and to have him in that 40 man squad is as much reward for him and if we have injury problems coming up to that then he is available to me and I can pick him.
“He’s having a good season, Mark Warburton speaks very highly of him.”
Manning would represent a strong option for Ireland in a position, save for Stevens, that Ireland have been notoriously light in over the last few years.
The game against New Zealand will likely be the ideal scenario for Manning to make his senior debut given his current club form, and McCarthy outlined that he will be using it to assess some of the squad’s fringe players.
“The New Zealand game is a chance to have a look at the players who are fighting to be in the team and some of the players fighting to be in the squad. We saw how beneficial it was to change things up for the recent Bulgaria friendly and we may well do that again against New Zealand.”