Saturday 21 April 2018

Martin O'Neill springs two surprises as he names Ireland squad for crunch World Cup qualifier against Wales

Liam Kelly and John Egan have been called up to the Ireland squad
Liam Kelly and John Egan have been called up to the Ireland squad
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

John Brennan

Brentford centre-half John Egan has been called into the Irish squad to prepare for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Wales on Friday week.

Egan, son of the late Kerry Gaelic Football great of the same name, comes into the group as Martin O'Neill faces and injury crisis with Shane Duffy definitely out of the Welsh clash and doubts about Ciaran Clark, Richard Keogh and Cyrus Christie.

"I know John since his days at Sunderland when he was only a kid," said O'Neill, "he has earned this call-up and we're telling lads that we're watching them at club level and see what they are doing."

Reading starlet Liam Kelly is also included, and goalkeeper Rob Elliott is back in the squad after suffering a serious injury just before Euro 2016. Robbie Brady is out of the Welsh game through suspension and with all those losses O'Neill paid tribute to stalwart John O'Shea.

"It's wonderful for us that he has decided to go on after the Euros. With over 100 caps, he brings so much to our group, it's wonderful to have him."

O'Neill is braced for another row with Everton boss Ronald Koeman over midfielder James McCarthy who is out of club action through injury.

"At least Everton can't blame us this time, I hope, James hasn't been with us for months" O'Neill laughed. "I spoke to James the other day and he expects to be training by the end of this week, so we'll see then."

IRELAND SQUAD: Colin Doyle (Bradford), Rob Elliot (Newcastle), Darren Randolph (West Ham), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, Alex Pearce (Derby), Paul McShane (Reading), Andy Boyle (Preston), John O'Shea (Sunderland), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle), John Egan (Brentford), Stephen Ward (Burnley), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Aiden McGeady, Daryl Horgan (Preston), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), James McCarthy (Everton), Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady (Burnley), David Meyler (Hull), Liam Kelly (Reading), Darron Gibson (Sunderland), Harry Arter (Bournemouth), Eunan O'Kane (Leeds), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich), Anthony Pilkington (Cardiff), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City), Jonathan Hayes (Aberdeen), James McClean (West Brom, Kevin Doyle (Colorado Rapids), Shane Long (Southampton), David McGoldrick (Ipswich), Daryl Murphy (Newcastle), Adam Rooney (Aberdeen), Jonathan Walters (Stoke).

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