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Saturday 3 December 2016

Talking points as Republic of Ireland prepare to name 23-man Euro 2016 squad

Published 26/05/2016 | 16:16

Martin O'Neill will name his final squad in the next week
Martin O'Neill will name his final squad in the next week

Martin O'Neill will send out his Republic of Ireland team for their penultimate Euro 2016 warm-up game against Holland on Friday evening with decisions still to make.

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Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some of the main talking points surrounding the game.

D-DAY

O'Neill was initially expected to announce his final 23-man party for the finals on Saturday after the Holland match, but has confirmed he will now not do so until after the clash with Belarus on Tuesday, which finishes just hours before the UEFA deadline. While he admits 90 per cent of his players will know their fate by the weekend, the remaining 10 per cent face an anxious wait.

MCCARTHY WORRY

James McCarthy is a key player in O'Neill's team and the lack of his presence on the training pitch this weekend because of a thigh problem is a concern. The Everton midfielder will not be risked against the Dutch and should his condition not improve over the weekend, he may not feature against Belarus either. Such is his importance to Ireland that he will go to France if he is anywhere near fit, but his lack of action since the end of his club season will be unwelcome.

LAST CHANCE SALOON?

O'Neill freely admits there are still places up for grabs in the 23, and the competition is perhaps strongest in midfield. David Meyler is yet to join up with the squad because of Hull's Sky Bet Championship play-off campaign, but with McCarthy, Glenn Whelan, Jeff Hendrick, Aiden McGeady and James McClean all likely to get the nod along with Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan, who can play different roles, he, Harry Arter, Darron Gibson, Stephen Quinn and Eunan O'Kane have work to do to join them.

ROBBIE'S ROLE

Robbie Keane has carried the fight for Ireland since he was a teenager and his 67 senior international goals for his country may never be beaten. He is no longer regarded as the first name on the teamsheet and his presence in France should he, as expected, make the final squad would be in a supporting role. However, it would be unfair to assume he would be used as little more than a cheerleader and he remains confident there are still goals in his well-worn boots.

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