Sharp shooter Sammie Szmodics called up to Ireland squad
Sammie Szmodics has earned a call-up to Stephen Kenny’s Ireland squad.
Blackburn Rovers attacker Sammie Szmodics has been called up to Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland squad following the withdrawal of Aaron Connolly.
Szmodics is the top scorer in the EFL Championship with seven goals to his name but was omitted from Kenny’s initial squad last Thursday.
Kenny views Szmodics as more of a forward than a midfielder, perhaps explaining his decision to choose the likes of Aberdeen’s Jamie McGrath and Bristol City’s Mark Sykes but not the in-form 28-year-old in the midfield division.
𝗦𝗾𝘂𝗮𝗱 𝗨𝗽𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲 | Sammie Szmodics called up for Greece and Gibraltar @EURO2024 qualifiers 🇮🇪
The @Rovers forward, who has scored seven goals in the Championship this season, comes into the squad to replace the injured Aaron Connolly
Welcome back Sammie 💚 pic.twitter.com/YG4dLLqpOL
— Ireland Football ⚽️🇮🇪 (@IrelandFootball) October 9, 2023
Szmodics called up after initial omission
When the question was raised, Kenny therefore compared Szmodics to his striking options. Callum Robinson was the surprise name among the attackers but the manager justified the Cardiff City man’s selection by pointing to his familiarity with Ireland’s gameplan:
“He’s unfortunate,” said Kenny of Szmodics before his late call-up. “Sammie is a versatile player and played centre-forward the other day, he plays in midfield, he plays on the left.
“Players he’s competing with, like Callum Robinson, who has only come back recently, but Callum knows exactly how we play.
Stephen Kenny has announced his squad for the European Championship qualifiers against Greece and Gibraltar.
Bristol City duo Max O'Leary and Mark Sykes make the squad while Celtic duo Liam Scales and Mikey Johnston are also included!
— All Things ROI (@AllThingsROI) October 5, 2023
“We’ve three days to prepare for the game against Greece and we want to make sure that everyone knows exactly where we are.
“I just don’t want any more changes on top of (that) because we’ve had a lot of changes. I’m not looking for any more at the moment.”
Szmodics was called up to train with the Republic of Ireland in 2021’s Spanish summer camp where they faced Andorra and Hungary.
Coincidentally, Szmodics – who was born and raised in England – is eligible to represent Hungary through his grandfather, but opted to play for the country of his County Longford grandmother instead.
Okay so the Sammie Szmodics hype on here was nuts for a long time but now it's to be taken seriously ⚽️⚽️
— Kenny's Kids (@KennysKids) September 17, 2023
The former Peterborough United star didn’t appear in either game in 2021 as he didn’t possess the necessary paperwork to play for Ireland until March of this year after a lengthily process.
Now fit, firing and free to play, he could offer Ireland a goalscoring threat off the bench that they have been missing for some time.