With Mick McCarthy’s first two Euro 2020 qualifiers done and dusted it’s time to now look ahead to the next games in June.
There are just a few games left of the season with a host of players looking to perform well enough to be included in McCarthy’s next squad for the qualifiers with Denmark and Gibraltar.
Pundit Arena takes a look at the Irish performances from across the English leagues and puts together a starting eleven every week based solely on individual displays from potential Boys in Green.
Let’s take a look at who made the starting eleven in this edition of The Irish XI.
Goalkeeper: Kieren Westwood
Back involved in McCarthy’s last squad for the games against Gibraltar and Georgia, Westwood didn’t play in either game but he was back impressing at club level for Sheffield Wednesday over the weekend.
The Owls drew 0-0 against Stoke as Westwood kept his tenth clean sheet in just 16 games this season and looks completely revitalised under Steve Bruce.
Two crucial saves kept the game scoreless as Westwood continues to push Darren Randolph for the number one jersey.
Right-Back: Seamus Coleman
Coleman continued his good form from the international break as he performed tremendously in the 2-0 win over West Ham.
The Irish captain appears to be finding his feet again and was one of Everton’s best performers in the solid victory.
More of this from the right-back and he’ll soon be back to being one of Ireland’s most influential players.
Centre-Back: Richard Keogh
Another who continued where they left off for Ireland, Richard Keogh was at his commanding best in Derby County’s massive victory over Rotherham.
Although they didn’t keep a clean sheet, Keogh was dominant up against the Rotherham front-line as Frank Lampard’s men hit the relegation-threatened Millers for six.
The experienced defender could be a crucial player should Derby manage to stay in the playoff picture.
Centre-Back: Darragh Lenihan
A bit of a forgotten man as of late, Lenihan returned to the Blackburn Rovers starting XI in their defeat to in-form Aston Villa over the weekend.
Rovers only kept one clean sheet in seven games without the Irish defender and despite defeat, they looked much more composed at the back with Lenihan involved.
The 25-year old made two appearances for Ireland under Martin O’Neill and will be looking to be back involved in the squad come June.
Left-Back: Enda Stevens
A first defeat in 11 games for a Sheffield United side with a host of Irish talent amongst it, Stevens was solid despite the loss.
It was far from his best game, but Stevens impressed in his usual left-wing back role before being forced into a centre-back role thanks to an injury to Jack O’Connell.
Stevens has done enough throughout the season and over the two opening qualifiers to cement his place at left-back but also has the distinct advantage of being the only Irish player consistently performing in his position.
Defensive Midfield: Glenn Whelan
The career renaissance continues for Glenn Whelan at Aston Villa, with the 35-year old arguably having the best season of his life.
Against Blackburn he once again excelled in his role as the side’s metronome, holding in the midfield and allowing others to get forward while he sat.
Whelan looked brilliant against Georgia and will more than likely be involved once again for McCarthy in June.
Defensive Midfield: Harry Arter
One of the best players in what was almost a famous win for Cardiff City over Chelsea, Arter’s loan signing has proven to be a shrewd one from Neil Warnock.
Arter notched up an assist and was constantly lively throughout the game, despite only featuring as a substitute against Gibraltar over the international break.
The Cardiff man isn’t as disciplined as Whelan or as forward thinking as Hourihane but he will be hoping that his strong performances at the highest level will lead to McCarthy finding a spot for him.
Left Midfield: Callum Robinson
A hugely disappointing result for playoff-chasing Preston who were defeated by relegation-threatened Reading on Saturday.
One bonus, however, was the return to the starting XI of highly influential Callum Robinson, the 24-year old appearing and impressing on the left-wing for North End.
Robinson had started the season in scintillating form scoring nine goals in 18 league games but a hamstring injury in November caused him to miss 19 games this campaign.
Back fit and hopefully firing soon, Robinson could be a massive attacking asset for McCarthy.
Right-Midfield: Aiden McGeady
McGeady was included in McCarthy’s 38 man squad for the March qualifiers but ended up finding himself cut from the final squad despite his excellent performances this season.
The winger was at it again for Sunderland on Sunday scoring twice as they were narrowly defeated on penalties by Portsmouth in the Checkatrade Trophy final.
The 32-year old has now got 13 goals and six assists this season in what’s been a rejuvenated campaign for McGeady.
Striker: James Collins
The Luton Town man was deservedly included in McCarthy’s 23 man squad in March following his outstanding goalscoring form for the Hatters despite being unable to win his first cap.
Collins was back on the scoring trail at the weekend as he grabbed his 21st league goal of the season against Bristol Rovers in a crucial win.
Should he keep it up, McCarthy will once again be forced to take notice of the 28-year old.
Striker: Scott Hogan
It was a disappointing day for Sheffield United on Saturday as they suffered defeat to Bristol City and dropped out of the automatic promotion places.
In Scott Hogan, however, there was a bright spark, as the striker came off the bench to score his first goal for the club; his maiden strike of the season.
After struggling for fitness and form, a goal could just be the remedy that Hogan needs to kick on and impress in the last part of his loan spell at Bramall Lane.