Chris Forrester among four new faces in Martin O'Neill's 40-man Ireland squad
Published 11/03/2016 | 14:48
Martin O’Neill has named a foursome of unfamiliar faces in his 40 man Republic of Ireland squad for their upcoming friendlies with Slovakia and Switzerland.
Former St Patricks Athletic midfielder Chris Forrester, who moved to Peterborough earlier in the year, has been included, so too has Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Jonny Hayes (Aberdeen) and Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers).
Forrester, Hayes and Doherty are uncapped at senior level, while Gleeson won the last of his two caps in 2007.
Shay Given and Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney have been omitted due to injury. Although officially retired , it was speculated that Crystal Palace defender Damien Delaney might be called back in from the wilderness, given his regular game time in the Premiership in comparison to O'Neill favourites such as Ciaran Clarke, Richard Keogh and John O'Shea but the former Celtic boss was not swayed.
He said: "The countdown to Euro 2016 starts now for us and we look forward to welcoming both Switzerland and Slovakia to the Aviva Stadium for what will be two very important games for us," manager O'Neill said at a press conference to announce the squad.
"Both myself and my staff have been incredibly busy since qualification last November scouting and monitoring as many players as possible.
"I know that I will have a very tough decision to name a final squad for Euro 2016 and that is why I want to give players a chance to impress.
"For these two games, I would like to encourage Ireland supporters to come out in numbers to support the team as passionately as they did during our qualifying campaign. When we come together it creates a fantastic atmosphere at the Aviva Stadium and the players really feed off that."
Squad: Randolph (West Ham), Forde (Millwall), Westwood (Sheff Wed), Elliot (Newcastle), Christie (Derby), Coleman (Everton), Keogh (Derby), O'Shea, (Sunderland), Pearce (Bristol City, on loan), Duffy (Blackburn), Clark (Aston Villa), McShane (Reading), Ward (Burnley), Cunningham (Preston), Doherty (Wolves), Brady (Norwich), McCarthy (Everton), Hendrick (Derby), Gibson (Everton), Arter (Bournemouth), O'Kane (Bournemouth), Whelan (Stoke), Green (Rotherham), Gleeson (Birmingham), Meyler (Hull), Quinn (Reading), McGeady (Sheff Wed, on loan), McClean (West Brom), Judge (Brentford), Hayes (Aberdeen), Forrester (Peterborough), Pilkington (Cardiff), Walters (Stoke), Hoolahan (Norwich), Keane (LA Galaxy), Long (Southampton), Murphy (Ipswich), Doyle (Colorado Rapids), Stokes (Celtic), Cox (Reading).
Additional reporting by PA