Jake O'Brien and Finn Azaz receive debut call-ups as John O'Shea names Ireland squad

Jake O'brien And Finn Azaz Receive Debut Call-Ups As John O'shea Names Ireland Squad
Jake O'Brien has been in fine form for Lyon. Photo: Getty Images
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James Cox

Interim Republic of Ireland manager John O'Shea has named his squad for the March friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland, with Jake O'Brien and Finn Azaz receiving debut call-ups.

O'Brien has emerged as a key man for Ligue 1 side Lyon, with the centre-back winning a number of man of the match awards for his performances this season.


With the club struggling in 10th place in the French league, the 22-year-old has been one of their few positives this season and emerged as a fan favourite.

Azaz, 23, is another exciting prospect. The attacking midfielder has scored two goals in 11 appearances for Michael Carrick's Middlesbrough side.

Blackburn Rovers midfielder Sammie Szmodics could also make his debut. The 28-year-old was included in Stephen Kenny's last Ireland squad but pulled out due to injury.

Sammie Szmodics has an eye for goal.

He has an eye for goal, so he will be a welcome addition to a goal-shy squad. Szomdics has scored 21 goals in 35 appearances this season.

Other in-form players in the squad include Adam Idah, Chiedozie Ogbene, Festy Ebosele and Mikey Johnston.

The FAI has insisted a new permanent manager will be appointed in April, but positive performances could stand to O'Shea amid ongoing uncertainty about the post.

Ireland face Belgium on Saturday, March 23rd, and Switzerland on Tuesday, March 26th.


Republic of Ireland squad to face Belgium and Switzerland

Goalkeepers: Gavin Bazunu (Southampton), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Mark Travers (Bournemouth)

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Liam Scales (Celtic), Nathan Collins (Brentford), Andrew Omobamidele (Nottingham Forest), Dara O'Shea (Burnley), Jake O'Brien (Lyon), Festy Ebosele (Udinese), Robbie Brady (Preston)

Midfielders: Josh Cullen (Burnley), Will Smallbone (Southampton), Jason Knight (Bristol City), Jamie McGrath (Aberdeen), Callum O'Dowda (Cardiff City), Mark Sykes (Bristol City), Finn Azaz (Middlesbrough), Mikey Johnston (West Bromwich Albion, on loan from Celtic)

Forwards: Adam Idah (Celtic, on loan from Norwich City), Chiedozie Ogbene (Luton Town), Sammie Szmodics (Blackburn Rovers), Evan Ferguson (Brighton), Michael Obafemi (Millwall, on loan from Burnley), Troy Parrott (Excelsior, on loan from Tottenham)


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