Sunday 15 September 2019

Why Ireland manager Mick McCarthy names 40-man provisional international squad

Ireland boss Mick McCarthy
Ireland boss Mick McCarthy
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy named a provisional 40-man squad for Ireland's upcoming Euro 2020 qualifier with Switzerland and the friendly with Bulgaria a few days later, yet he will trim that pool of players down substantially before the squad meets up in Dublin at the start of September.

Tottenham striker Troy Parrott, Stoke City's Nathan Collins and Doncaster Rovers midfielder Kieran Sadlier were among those who received call-ups for the first time, yet there is every chance they will be cut from the final panel that will play in the crucial clash against Switzerland.

"I don't know what's going to happen between now and the next couple of games," stated McCarthy as he named his extended squad. "We've got Saturday games, Tuesday games, Saturday and then the Saturday before me meet up. Players could get injured before we meet up."

While McCarthy's comments offer some explanation for his extended squad list, another key reason for the announcement is to give clubs in England's League One and League Two time to make arrangements to contend with the absence of international players.

Premier League and Championship sides are not affected as they do not have fixtures when the international matches are played, but lower league English clubs are scheduled to play matches are entitled to request a postponement if they have three players called-up for senior or under-21 international duty.

Luton striker James Collins is among those who missed crucial games at club level last season as he reported for Ireland duty and unless Luton had been given 'suitable' notice, with several League One games postponed last season due to international call-ups.

So while England manager Gareth Southgate can name a condensed 23-man squad packed with Premier League performers who will all be available for selection, Ireland boss McCarthy needs to follow procedure and give Football League clubs advanced notice on potential call-ups.

Many believed this practice was introduced by Martin O'Neill, McCarthy's predecessor as Ireland manager, but it seems the uncomfortable task of trimming down enlarged squads will continue to be a part of the Ireland squad selection process for some time to come.

Online Editors

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