Five Irishmen hoping to make international impact against England
As Republic of Ireland prepare to host England at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, with a crucial Euro 2016 qualifying clash against Scotland following swiftly afterwards, Martin O’Neill will likely hand caps to several fringe players to deputise alongside many regular starters on home soil.
This international ‘friendly’ encounter in the country’s capital has been widely anticipated, with the long-standing history between these two nations evidently providing an extra buzz around both sets of camps and fans.
Ahead of the eagerly-awaited match-up, here are five Ireland stars that could make an impact days before O’Neill leads his side out for a vital qualifier against Gordon Strachan’s Scots.
Having made his Ireland bow back in 2007, Ipswich Town sharpshooter Murphy has since endured a lacklustre international career, featuring only 14 times altogether since his debut against Ecuador all them years ago.
The former Celtic hitman is back at the club which he had previously spent three separate loan spells at, and has enjoyed his best ever campaign in front of goal, striking an impressive 27 times in the Championship.
Waterford-born Murphy could play a big part in the clash with Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions and is 11/4 with Coral to net anytime and continue his rampant run of form.
Bournemouth made history this season, securing their first ever promotion to the top-flight under Eddie Howe, with playmaker Arter at the forefront of that incredible success.
The 25-year-old amazingly played 43 Championship games this term, weighing in with an invaluable nine goals and didn’t see his achievements go unnoticed, as he picked up the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year for such a sublime campaign.
O’Neill could introduce Arter into the England match-up from the bench, or opt to throw him in straight form the off against his country of birth, and he is 12/1 to score last in Dublin.
With Everton anchorman James McCarthy now regarded as Ireland’s mainstay centre midfielder, alongside either Stephen Quinn or Glenn Whelan, Derby County’s Hendrick could see his fair share of game time against their visiting rivals.
The 23-year-old was unlucky not to gain promotion to the top-flight this season, and is reportedly attracting interest form Celtic, but the Dub would relish an opportunity to come up against England in his home county, having only made his debut two years ago at the Aviva.
Former Birmingham City shot stopper Randolph recently made a switch to the Premier League, as West Ham United secured his services for next season on a free transfer. The 28-year-old kept 12 clean sheets for the St Andrew’s side last term and could be set to earn only his third international cap against England.
Aston Villa’s Shay Given is likely to be rested ahead of the Scotland clash, having recently featured in the FA Cup final, though Sheffield Wednesday’s player of the year Kieran Westwood could be called upon at Randolph’s expense instead.
Whoever does take their position between the Irish sticks will have a tough task of thwarting the likes of Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling, but the Emerald Isle are 5/2 to keep a clean sheet.
Hull City’s creative wideman was unable to help his club avoid relegation from the Premier League this season, but the former Manchester United prospect is a regular feature for O’Neill’s Ireland senior set-up and is 5/1 to strike anytime, as he aims to banish memories of his disastrous campaign with the Tigers with a victory over England.