Close sidebar

Predicting Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad ahead of Nations League games

On Monday, Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny will name his first squad since taking over at the helm of the senior side.

Stephen Kenny’s Boys in Green take on Bulgaria and Finland in the UEFA Nations League at the beginning of September.

Here is the 25-man squad we believe Stephen Kenny will select;

Stephen Kenny

_____

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Mark Travers, Caoimhin Kelleher

It’s difficult to imagine Kenny springing too many surprises in his selections between the sticks, however Kieran O’Hara still being without a club may hurt his chances.

Darren Randolph isn’t first choice at West Ham but has been brilliant for the Boys in Green and deserves to be the Irish number one, while Mark Travers has proven himself to be a solid backup even if his minutes at Bournemouth have been limited.

Stephen Kenny

That however could change this season with the Cherries’ relegation and the departure of both Arthur Boruc and Aaron Ramsdale.

The third option is Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher. The young keeper has found minutes hard to come by for the Reds however he has shown himself to be a favourite of Kenny at U21 level.

_____

Defenders: Seamus Coleman, Matt Doherty, John Egan, Shane Duffy, Dara O’Shea, Enda Stevens, Ryan Manning

Kenny is spoilt for choice in the defensive ranks with Seamus Coleman his captain and Brighton’s Shane Duffy both guaranteed to make the squad, despite the latter’s future still being undecided at club level.

Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens has firmly cemented his spot at left-back while his Blades teammate John Egan has already been earmarked as a crucial player for Kenny.

After another exceptional season, Wolves’ Matt Doherty will certainly be involved, while QPR’s Ryan Manning should finally be given his chance.

Manning had an excellent season in his new left-back role and would provide good cover for Stevens as well as an another option in the midfield if needed.

Ciaran Clark has returned from injury while Blackburn duo Derrick Williams and Darragh Lenihan are options however the final place in defence goes to Dara O’Shea.

A favourite of Kenny at U21 level, O’Shea had a breakout season with West Brom in the Championship, becoming their first choice right-back and helping the Baggies to promotion.

Kenny may use him as cover at centre-half as opposed to right-back, but O’Shea is more than deserving of a spot in the squad.

_____

Midfielders: James McCarthy, Conor Hourihane, Jeff Hendrick, Alan Browne, Jayson Molumby, Jack Byrne, Jason Knight, Harry Arter

The midfield is an area that is in need of improvement under Kenny but it is as much about getting the best out of players already in and around the squad as it is about bringing new faces in.

James McCarthy looks as though he will be brought back into the fold which is brilliant news for Ireland while the likes of Jeff Hendrick and Conor Hourihane have all the tools to potentially flourish and become key men once again under the new Irish boss.

Jeff Hendrick

Preston’s Alan Browne had been growing into his place in and around the Irish starting XI and his creativity from the midfield could be a useful tool for Kenny.

One new face in the midfield area comes in the form of Jayson Molumby, Kenny’s captain at U21 level. The Brighton man impressed during a loan spell at Millwall and is more than ready for senior action with the Boys in Green.

Another is Jason Knight. The Derby midfielder is versatile and can play anywhere in the midfield or out wide, with his performances last season warranting a place in the squad.

Stephen Kenny

Harry Arter returns to the squad, just ahead of Josh Cullen while Jack Byrne Shamrock Rovers’ Jack Byrne could become a vital part of the new look Ireland.

Glenn Whelan has been a brilliant servant to his country but it’s likely that his international career will come to an end soon while Southampton’s Will Smallbone has been earmarked for the 21s by Kenny.

_____

Forwards: Shane Long, Aaron Connolly, David McGoldrick, Callum Robinson, James McClean, Robbie Brady, Michael Obafemi

Robbie Brady has struggled for game time at Burnley but is another who could get back to his best under Kenny, while James McClean‘s fondness for Kenny could see him flourish under the new Irish boss in a similar way to his club form with Stoke and Michael O’Neill.

The 31-year-old had one of his finest seasons in recent memory under the former Northern Irish manager.

Elsewhere on the flanks, Callum Robinson is included after a brilliant loan spell at West Brom while Aaron Connolly‘s return to form and fitness with Brighton sees him given the nod.

David McGoldrick has been outstanding for both club and country over the last 12 months and despite his lack of goals should still have a crucial role to play in the Irish attack while Shane Long’s form has certainly warranted an international recall.

That leaves one more spot and despite Troy Parrott and Adam Idah’s success under Stephen Kenny at U21 level we feel as though he may favour the more experienced youngster Michael Obafemi.

Stephen Kenny

The 20-year-old featured frequently for Southampton in the Premier League last season.

_____

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Mark Travers, Caoimhin Kelleher

Defenders: Seamus Coleman, Matt Doherty, John Egan, Shane Duffy, Dara O’Shea, Enda Stevens, Ryan Manning

Midfielders: James McCarthy, Conor Hourihane, Jeff Hendrick, Alan Browne, Jayson Molumby, Jack Byrne, Jason Knight, Josh Cullen

Forwards: Shane Long, Aaron Connolly, David McGoldrick, Callum Robinson, James McClean, Robbie Brady, Michael Obafemi

_____

Sign Up For The LOI Arena Newsletter

Read More About: , , , ,

Author: Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here [email protected]