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The Irish XI: PA’s Team Of The Week From Around The English Leagues

With Mick McCarthy’s first two Euro 2020 qualifiers done and dusted it’s time to now look ahead to the next fixtures 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

It wasn’t the most fruitful weekend for Irish goalkeepers with neither Westwood, Randolph nor Kieran O’Hara at Macclesfield keeping clean sheets.

Westwood gets the nod however thanks to his solid display in Sheffield Wednesday’s late loss to in-form Aston Villa in the Championship.

The 34-year old pulled off a number of smart saves but arguably should have done better for Villa’s second as Wednesday’s unbeaten run came to an end.



Left-Back: Enda Stevens 

A textbook Sheffield United performance as the Blades climbed back up to the automatic spots beating Preston by a goal to nil at Deepdale.

Stevens slotted into the back three as he has done on a number of occasions this campaign in the absence of Jack O’Connell and put in a tremendous defensive shift for his side.

The former Shamrock Rovers man’s defensive versatility has been a big plus for Chris Wilder’s Blades this season.


Centre-Back: John Egan

Like his teammate Enda Stevens, John Egan was tremendous at the back for the Blades in victory.

Egan was resolute when the Preston assault came and the big defender also had a hand in the goal as his header was only pushed onto the crossbar by John Rudd, as McGoldrick pounced on the rebound.

Unlucky to miss out on the starting XI for the March qualifiers and will fancy his chances of breaking into the team in June.


Centre-Back: Alex Pearce

A fantastic all-around display from Millwall who picked up a 2-0 victory over promotion-chasing West Brom at the Den.

In the back-line, Irish defender Alex Pearce cruised through the game looking very comfortable at every turn and dominating one of the division’s best strikers in Dwight Gayle.

The 30-year old has not appeared in an Irish jersey in nearly two years but more displays like this and McCarthy will have no choice but to take notice of the Millwall man.


Right-Back: Seamus Coleman 

Over the last month or so Coleman has refound the form that once heralded him as one of European football’s finest right-backs.

Against Arsenal, Coleman was strong defensively, constantly nullifying any attacks that threatened to come down his side as Everton picked up a vital a win.

He was also promising going forward, making excellent decisions in possession.



Left-Midfield: Alan Judge

His first performance since signing a new contract with the club, Judge was one of Ipswich’s standout players in the win against Bolton Wanderers.

It looks as though Ipswich will be playing in the third tier next season, but Judge could turn out to be one of their most important players as they push for a return to the Championship.

Against Bolton, he showed flashes of brilliance and will be hoping that he can end the season in promising fashion.


Centre-Midfield: Richie Towell

Battling against the drop, Rotherham United picked up a crucial win against Martin O’Neill’s Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Crucial to their victory was Richie Towell’s contribution in the middle of the park as he frequently found the right pass and supported the frontmen well.

Towell is yet to pick up an international cap but could find himself in McCarthy’s plans in June if he can help The Millers avoid the drop.


Centre-Midfield: Jeff Hendrick

Another strong performance from Jeff Hendrick as Burnley picked up a vital three points against Bournemouth in their battle for survival.

Hendrick put in a tremendous shift in the midfield and worked incredibly hard for the team as Dyche’s side got the better of the Cherries.

The 28-year old has gotten used to playing out of position this season and has already proven that he will be one of McCarthy’s key men.


Right-Midfield: Matt Doherty

A goal and an assist for Matt Doherty, despite Wolves losing their FA Cup semi-final clash with Watford at Wembley.

The wing-back finished the competition with a tremendous haul of four goals and three assists, leading the tournament in goal based contributions.

Doherty took his goal excellently, timing his run to perfection to meet Diogo Jota’s cross and his long ball to Raul Jimenez was a thing of beauty.

The dilemma as to where to play him for Ireland continues.


Striker: Shane Long 

Back amongst the goals, Shane Long opened the scoring for Southampton in their 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Friday night.

Long was his typical bustling self and took his goal very well, anticipating the ball falling to him in the area and rifling it past Alisson in the Liverpool goal.

The 32-year old arguably could have had a second but deserved a goal for his work rate and contribution in defeat.


Striker: David McGoldrick

What a crucial goal David McGoldrick’s winner could prove to be in the race for the automatic promotion places in the Championship.

As second-placed Leeds United fell to a surprise defeat against Birmingham City, the Blades and McGoldrick secured a massive victory against playoff chasing Preston.

For his goal, McGoldrick was alert in the area to capitalise on the rebound and throughout the game, he proved a nuisance for the Preston defence.

What a season he is having.


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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