Friday 23 March 2018

Jon Walters excluded from Ireland squad to play Denmark but could still feature

Jonathan Walters is an injury concern for Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill
Jonathan Walters is an injury concern for Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill

John Brennan

Jon Walters is not in the 34-man provisional Irish squad for next month's World Cup play-offs against Denmark, but Martin O'Neill has not yet given up on his man.

As expected, the injured duo of Jonathan Walters and Seamus Coleman have not recovered sufficiently to be considered.

O'Neill admitted that the games came too soon for the Everton full-back but Walters still had a slight chance of being involved.

The Burnley man, Ireland's Player of the Year in 2015, has not been asked to come in by O'Neill for now - despite Walters' club boss Sean Dyche holding out some hope that he might make the games on November 11 in Copenhagen and in Dublin three days later.

"Jon is making good progress," said O'Neill, "I have spoken to him and he's coming on well, and maybe if things change for the lad over the next ten days, he could still come in if he continues to improve fitness-wise."

Seanie Maguire is included in the group as he battles back from a hamstring injury suffered at Preston while O'Neill revealed he had watched James McCarthy play for Everton at Chelsea on Wednesday night and is delighted to see the midfielder back.

Alan Browne (Preston), Paul McShane (Reading) and Matt Doherty (Wolves) are all in the extended squad and now they have a fortnight to hold their places before the Irish manager trims his group to a more workable 25 or 26 to prepare to face the Danes. 

"They never really left. I always name a big squad. Trimmed this one to 67. He (Doherty) is playing well for Wolves, so I'd hadn't forgotten about him."

O'Neill's mission statement for the trip to Denmark: "Come back to Dublin still in the competition."

More to follow

Republic of Ireland Squad

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Rob Elliot (Newcastle United), Colin Doyle (Bradford City)

Defenders: Cyrus Christie (Middlesbrough), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Paul McShane (Reading), Richard Keogh (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle United), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Kevin Long, Stephen Ward (Burnley)

Midfielders: Aiden McGeady (Sunderland), Daryl Horgan, Alan Browne (Preston North End), Glenn Whelan, Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), James McCarthy (Everton), Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Eunan O'Kane (Leeds United), David Meyler (Hull City), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), Jonny Hayes (Celtic), James McClean (West Bromwich Albion)

Forwards: Shane Long (Southampton), Daryl Murphy (Nottingham Forest), David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Scott Hogan (Aston Villa), Aiden O'Brien (Millwall)

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