Saturday 17 February 2018

Liam Brady: No late bolter in Irish squad is a sad indictment of the standard of our players

Liam Brady
Liam Brady Newsdesk Newsdesk

Irish football legend Liam Brady believes the fact that no new Ireland stars have emerged over the past year to force their way into Martin O'Neill's 23-man squad for Euro 2016 is a major concern.

Teenage sensation Marcus Rashford scored on his debut for England on Friday night against Australia and has been plunged into the England squad by Roy Hodgson.

There was a much more predictable feel about Martin O'Neill's travelling party and Brady believes it is a reflection on our failure to produce top class young players in recent years.

"It's a bit sad that we haven't seen anyone appear in the last year that could push themselves into that squad," Brady told Morning Ireland on RTE Radio One.

"You've seen Marcus Rashford do it for England over the last six months, Dele Alli has started at Spurs this season and nobody knew too much about him and the two boys are going in the England squad to the Euros.

"We don't have that problem and it's a sad indictment of the standard of player that we have at the moment."

Harry Arter is one player who look destined to force his way into O'Neill's plans but a thigh injury has scuppered his chances.

"He already had two injured players in (James) McCarthy and (Robbie) Keane and the other decisions were predictable."

The former Arsenal, Juventus and Sampdoria star also believes that Kieren Westwood is the best custodian at O'Neill's disposal at the moment.

"On the goalkeeping front, Westwood is the form goalkeeper, (Darren) Randolph hasn't let us down and he's taken Shay Given for his experience. It's unlucky on David Forde but managers have to make these decisions," he added.

"He's the goalkeeper most on form, arguably he's our first pick. Darren Randolph doesn't play much for West Ham but he hasn't let us down when he's played... he's played well. I can understand the way Martin has gone with the goalkeepers.

"It's hard on David because he's done well but that's the situation."

Brady also endorsed the decision to bring Keane despite the calf injury which has prevented him from taking part in the two warm-up games against the Netherlands and last night's 2-1 defeat to Belarus.

"At some stage you are probably going to need a goal late on in a game and Robbie would be the man to turn to. We really are bereft of strikers.

"It's a sad situation that Robbie is the age he is and he's going in the squad and Daryl Murphy has played 20 games for ireland as a striker and he hasn't scored but that's what we've got but when martin gets that first Xi on the field, I think we can do well."

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