Wednesday 26 July 2017

Brady, Hendrick and Walters all return as O'Neill announces Ireland squad for Uruguay

15 June 2016; Robbie Brady, left, and Jeff Hendrick of Republic of Ireland during a press conference at Versailles in Paris, France. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
15 June 2016; Robbie Brady, left, and Jeff Hendrick of Republic of Ireland during a press conference at Versailles in Paris, France. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Jack O'Toole

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has brought in 10 players to the Ireland squad that will play Uruguay on Sunday with first-team regulars Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick and Jon Walters all returning to the national setup.

Ireland went down 3-1 to Mexico in a friendly in New Jersey on Thursday night, in what was the first of two international friendlies before the Boys In Green take on Austria in a pivotal 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Dublin next weekend.

A win over the Austrians would put Ireland in a commanding position to qualify for next year's World Cup in Russia, with the 10 players the Derry native has called into the squad boasting a combined 437 caps between them.

Keiren Westwood, John O'Shea, Glenn Whelan, Harry Arter, Aiden McGeady and Jonny Hayes will join Hendrick, Brady and Walters in the squad, while Reading midfielder Stephen Quinn will join in for training only.

O'Neill said that he is expecting a similar challenge from Uruguay as to what Ireland experienced against Mexico on Thursday, and that it is good for his players to be challenged by meaningful opposition, as opposed to playing in friendlies against some of football's lesser nations.

"I think it will be pretty much the same as it was against Mexico," said O'Neill looking ahead to the friendly with Uruguay.

"I thought Mexico were very sharp. They had some very, very good players and they were really on the ball and I felt that they deserved to win the game, but Uruguay will be a big test for us again.

"I know I've said this umpteen times, but it's worth repeating, I don't mind these tests, I prefer them.

"I prefer the players to be in against something rather than in a relatively easy friendly game, if there is such a thing for us, and getting a false confidence about yourself."

"It's best to go and play these games because they're difficult matches and it's all in preparation for Austria."

Birmingham City midfielder Stephen Gleeson will drop out of the Ireland squad to attend his wedding in Portugal.

Republic of Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Keiren Westwood, Colin Doyle

Defenders: Cyrus Christie, Alex Pearce, Richard Keogh, Shane Duffy, John O'Shea, Kevin Long, Andy Boyle, John Egan, Stephen Ward

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady, Eunan O'Kane, Glenn Whelan, Harry Arter, Conor Hourihane, Alan Browne, Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Daryl Horgan, Wes Hoolahan, Callum O'Dowda, James McClean, Jonny Hayes

Forwards: Jonathan Walters, Daryl Murphy, David McGoldrick

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