How the Ireland squad could change following World Cup exit

Ireland's World Cup exit could signal something of a watershed for a series of players.

Let's look at some of those whose race may be run, and others who are just setting out.

John O'Shea

With 117 senior caps to his name, O'Shea has been a stalwart for Ireland since making his debut against Croatia in August 2001.

He was persuaded to prolong his international career after the Euro 2016 finals as manager Martin O'Neill sought to retain his vast experience, but the last of his three appearances of the campaign came in March.

Wes Hoolahan

A conundrum for both O'Neill and predecessor Giovanni Trapattoni, Hoolahan is a fans' favourite who has struggled to win a regular place through his international career.

He has 43 caps to his name but now aged 34, time is not on his side.

Daryl Murphy

Another 34-year-old, Nottingham Forest striker Murphy has come to the fore on the international stage late in his career.

He has repeatedly put his body on the line for Ireland, finally breaking his duck for his country with a late equaliser in the 2-2 draw in Serbia in September last year - but is getting to the age where the lone frontman role is a big ask.

Callum O'Dowda

O'Dowda's rise to prominence has been such that, a little less than 18 months after winning his first cap in a friendly defeat by Belarus as a League Two player at Oxford, he was handed a start in the first leg of the play-off against Denmark.

Now playing his football in the Sky Bet Championship with Bristol City, the 22-year-old appears to have a bright future with Ireland ahead of him.

Sean Maguire

Maguire completed a remarkable journey when he was handed his first senior cap as a late substitute in last month's 2-0 qualifier victory over Moldova.

Two years earlier, he could not get a game for League of Ireland side Dundalk, but having joined Cork City and earned himself a move to Sky Bet Championship Preston, the 23-year-old has captured O'Neill's attention.

Declan Rice

It is a concern for the Ireland management team that so few of their players are currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

One who has had a taste of that this season is 18-year-old West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, who lined up for Ireland's Under-21s in their 2-1 defeat in Norway on Tuesday and is rated highly within the Ireland set-up.


KEYWORDS: sport, soccer, World Cup

 

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