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Thread: Republic of Ireland V Latvia - Wednesday, 22nd March 2023 - Friendly

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    Republic of Ireland V Latvia - Wednesday, 22nd March 2023 - Friendly

    (Tets - feel free to merge into any upcoming threads for the Latvia/France games)

    So, its been a fairly exciting few months for a number of players at their clubs. Seeing a few positive signs in the Championship and League One, not to mention Ferguson's breakthrough in the PL. Who is playing themselves in and who is on the way out? Who do we think Kenny has to call up this go around?

    Here's my take...

    Keepers
    Last Squad: Bazunu, Kelleher, Travers
    Potential Changes: none

    Defenders
    Last Squad: Coleman, Doherty, Collins, Egan, O'Shea, Lenihan, Scales, McClean, Brady
    Potential Changes: Manning for Scales, Brady or McClean? Omobamidele, Duffy or McNally for Lenihan? Is there a spot for Festy or Lyons?

    Midfielders
    Last Squad: Cullen, Hendrick, Molumby, Browne, Smallbone, McGrath
    Potential Changes: Keep Hourihane away, retain Smallbone. Knight (seemingly has to come back), Coventry, Sykes or Connell for Browne? Szmodics or Azaz for McGrath?

    Forwards
    Last Squad: Obafemi, Robinson, Hogan, Ogbene, Keane, Ferguson, O'Dowda
    Potential Changes: Robinson is out, Hogan and Keane have dropped off. Time to bring back Parrott and Idah? Will Connolly be back in time for contention? Sykes or Azaz for O'Dowda?

    A lot of options, I am sure i have missed others (Kelly? Promise?)... I'll throw down a possible 26 man squad...

    Keepers - Bazunu, Kelleher, Travers
    Defenders - Coleman, Doherty, Collins, Egan, O'Shea, Lenihan, Omobamidele, Manning, McClean
    Midfielders - Cullen, Molumby, Smallbone, Knight, Sykes, Szmodics, Coventry
    Forwards - Obafemi, Ogbene, Ferguson, Idah, Parrott, Keane, Azaz

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    You've got me thinking about SZmodics and Johnston now. Why rush to have clearance and everything else sorted before the first squad announcement of a new campaign unless he's planning on involving them at some point in the campaign? It feels like its all been timed particularly so for inclusion in the campaign and having a squad see out the whole campaign. Are either really going to offer anything different to what we have already? Szmodics is 27? Johnston doesnt seem to have done much in the last 2-3 years to warrant an inclusion? Quite a few questions that I think only get answered with the first squad announcement.

    How would others that have been around the periphery or late call ups to the squad to be circumvented by those two latest players to get FAI clearance? But then how could he include Connell or Coventry ahead of Szmodics if he rushed to get his clearance in time? Unless of course it's just saving face for future games in the campaign.

    Personally this is what I'd like to see(in order of preference):
    Ferguson in the squad and starting.
    Scales, Hourihane, O'dowda out.
    Smallbone included on merit and natural progression.
    Not fussed over Idah, but would like to see Parrott in there but not near the team.
    Dont think its right to include the two new recruits at this point in time.
    Would be nice to see Connell get the call up given the noise about him a few years back, and that he's shown one bump doesn't create a fall.

    P.s Good to see you've seen the light on the COD'in
    Last edited by paul_oshea; 08/03/2023 at 2:28 PM.
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    O'Dowda should still be in, but as a defender. He's arguably our best option now at left wing back.
    Keane O'Shea Given Best Smallbone

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    hoping for a larger squad given the friendly: (29 below)


    • Kelleher
    • Bazunu
    • Travers



    • Doherty
    • Coleman
    • McNamara



    • Duffy
    • O’Shea
    • Collins
    • Egan
    • Omobamidele
    • Manning



    • Brady
    • McClean



    • Cullen
    • Molumby
    • Hendrick
    • Coventry



    • Smallbone
    • McGrath
    • Knight
    • Browne



    • Ogbene
    • Sykes
    • O’Dowda



    • Parrott
    • Idah
    • Obafemi
    • Ferguson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eirambler View Post
    O'Dowda should still be in, but as a defender. He's arguably our best option now at left wing back.
    Thats exactly what I was going to say, he was probably the only positive from the recent friendlies in that he looked our best option in the left wing back position

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    Bazunu, Kelleher, Travers.

    Coleman, Doherty, Collins, Egan, O'Shea, Duffy, Omobamidele, McClean, O'Dowda

    Cullen, Molumby, Knight, Hendrick, Browne, Smallbone

    Ferguson, Obafemi, Ogbene, Idah, Parrott

    That's 23 that you'd need for a match day squad and feel it's close enough to the 23 he'll name. Could add Coventry, Hodge, Szmodics, Azaz, Johnston, and Sykes. That makes it 29 players in camp training.

    Manning isn't included because I could see him not being picked again but I'd have him there myself to make it 30 players. Johnston is included because from his comments about his paperwork it sounded like he'll be called up if cleared. We don't play with wingers so his inclusion is probably more just to train but Sykes can also play RWB so he could get game time against Latvia.

    Coventry and Hodge for me should be there to train at a minimum and I'd give Coventry minutes against Latvia even. Our closest player like for like with Cullen and feel we should integrate him sooner rather than later into the wider squad. Maybe even give him one half and Hodge the other.

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    id be calling up extra players for the latvia game. hodge should get some time from the bench in that game then drop to the 21s for their friendly. id assume he'll have szmodics involved given his papers have cleared? smallbone has to start v latvia with a view to him playing some role v france imo, sykes also deserves a start. kenny needs to show a pair of balls this window, unlike malta and give new players some game time. cullen and coleman shouldnt be in the squad v latvia , wrap those 2 in cotton wool for the big game . cant see it but manning should be one who sees game time v latvia too but he likely wont make the squad as kenny seemingly has something against him

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    Bazunu, Kelleher, Travers

    Coleman, Doherty, Collins, Egan, O'Shea, Omobamidele, O'Dowda, McClean

    Cullen, Molumby, Knight, Smallbone, Azaz, Coventry, Hodge

    Ferguson, Obafemi, Idah, Parrott, Ogbene


    That would be my 23 man squad. I dont think it'll happen because I think Hendrick and Browne will definitely be picked. Id like to see us move on from players that have a history in recent years of being poor to mediocre, where possible. Azaz for Hendrick is a possible step forward in the long run, even if it may be a stretch to pick him just now. Same with Hodge, he was probably the one I wasnt sure to put in given how much hes fallen down the pecking order at Wolves recently, but going with the Status Quo of Browne, Hendrick, Brady, McGrath or Hourihane just feels pointless and will ultimately lead to more disappoint.

    The thing Id most like to see in the next few games is that if we are going to fail, at least fail being brave and pick players that have the chance to improve and offer something different to what we've had.

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    Capped Player SkStu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_oshea View Post
    You've got me thinking about SZmodics and Johnston now. Why rush to have clearance and everything else sorted before the first squad announcement of a new campaign unless he's planning on involving them at some point in the campaign? It feels like its all been timed particularly so for inclusion in the campaign and having a squad see out the whole campaign. Are either really going to offer anything different to what we have already? Szmodics is 27? Johnston doesnt seem to have done much in the last 2-3 years to warrant an inclusion? Quite a few questions that I think only get answered with the first squad announcement.

    How would others that have been around the periphery or late call ups to the squad to be circumvented by those two latest players to get FAI clearance? But then how could he include Connell or Coventry ahead of Szmodics if he rushed to get his clearance in time? Unless of course it's just saving face for future games in the campaign.

    Personally this is what I'd like to see(in order of preference):
    Ferguson in the squad and starting.
    Scales, Hourihane, O'dowda out.
    Smallbone included on merit and natural progression.
    Not fussed over Idah, but would like to see Parrott in there but not near the team.
    Dont think its right to include the two new recruits at this point in time.
    Would be nice to see Connell get the call up given the noise about him a few years back, and that he's shown one bump doesn't create a fall.

    P.s Good to see you've seen the light on the COD'in
    Others making a good case for O'Dowda as cover for a few positions that got me thinking but I just wasn't sold on his inclusion this morning. His good start to the season seems to have tapered off a bit in recent months. Same with Brady. I left out Connell as i think he needs to just keep progressing right now and doing well. As others have said if he can make the move up and repeat performances, he is definitely a big part of the conversation for cover at 6. I left Johnston out as i don't think he fits with the current system and we just don't know enough - he might come into the reckoning later if he steps up at VG. I think Szmodics is hard to overlook given his current level of performance for a team at the top of the Championship. He gives us something different potentially in a specialist role. He's a bit senior compared to a lot of our players age profile alright but still has 5-6 years with the international team and that shouldn't to be downplayed.

    I agree with your point and what a few others have hinted at. The next squad announcement will tell us a lot about Kenny and where his head is at. Will he be brave to his vision or will he run scared...?

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    Capped Player SkStu's Avatar
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    If I had to chop it to a 23 man squad, here's what I would change from my 26:

    Keepers - Bazunu, Kelleher, Travers
    Defenders - Coleman, Doherty, Collins, Egan, O'Shea, Lenihan, Omobamidele, Manning, McClean
    Midfielders - Cullen, Molumby, Smallbone, Knight, Sykes, Coventry
    Forwards - Obafemi, Ogbene, Ferguson, Idah, Parrott, Azaz

    Szmodics, Keane, Lenihan all gone.

    Sykes and Azaz can cover Szmodics; Keane is covered by Idah and Parrott; Lenihan surplus, lots of coverage at CB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkStu View Post
    If I had to chop it to a 23 man squad, here's what I would change from my 26:

    Keepers - Bazunu, Kelleher, Travers
    Defenders - Coleman, Doherty, Collins, Egan, O'Shea, Lenihan, Omobamidele, Manning, McClean
    Midfielders - Cullen, Molumby, Smallbone, Knight, Sykes, Coventry
    Forwards - Obafemi, Ogbene, Ferguson, Idah, Parrott, Azaz

    Szmodics, Keane, Lenihan all gone.

    Sykes and Azaz can cover Szmodics; Keane is covered by Idah and Parrott; Lenihan surplus, lots of coverage at CB.
    How does this(above) cover this:

    "k Szmodics is hard to overlook given his current level of performance for a team at the top of the Championship. He gives us something different potentially in a specialist role. He's a bit senior compared to a lot of our players age profile alright but still has 5-6 years with the international team and that shouldn't to be downplayed."

    Are you suggesting that the former is what Kenny will go with with a vision for the future in place?

    Theres still no one really sticking out in that midfield, but the backs and forwards are begining to look a bit more strenght( at an average&similar level) in depth. But why do people think he'll go for anything other than a 23 man squad? He's hardly going to be naming big squads before the start of a new campaign?
    Last edited by paul_oshea; 08/03/2023 at 7:12 PM.
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    Because we've a pointless friendly before the big game. It's worth looking at some other options and some of our other senior players could be rested in the friendly. The 21s game being on at the end of the week gives him scope to look at 1 or 2 like hodge or ebosele imo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jd2793 View Post
    Because we've a pointless friendly before the big game. It's worth looking at some other options and some of our other senior players could be rested in the friendly. The 21s game being on at the end of the week gives him scope to look at 1 or 2 like hodge or ebosele imo.
    Wouldnt be calling any friendly pointless at this stage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_oshea View Post
    But why do people think he'll go for anything other than a 23 man squad? He's hardly going to be naming big squads before the start of a new campaign?
    1) Last year in the 4 international windows, he called up 24, 25, 26 and 27 to the initial squad - averaging 25.5.

    2) This is a squad with relatively few injuries (just 2 of maybe 40/50 contenders). Less injuries, the more players you need to find a place for

    3) We have a friendly against Latvia just before a competitive game against France. It might make sense to rest a load of lads to protect from injury and fatigue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_oshea View Post
    How does this(above) cover this:

    "k Szmodics is hard to overlook given his current level of performance for a team at the top of the Championship. He gives us something different potentially in a specialist role. He's a bit senior compared to a lot of our players age profile alright but still has 5-6 years with the international team and that shouldn't to be downplayed."

    Are you suggesting that the former is what Kenny will go with with a vision for the future in place?

    Theres still no one really sticking out in that midfield, but the backs and forwards are begining to look a bit more strenght( at an average&similar level) in depth. But why do people think he'll go for anything other than a 23 man squad? He's hardly going to be naming big squads before the start of a new campaign?
    Do you mean how can I, on one hand, say that Szmodics should be looked at and on the other drop him? If so, it is in line with what you deduced. If Kenny is to stick with bringing youth through then he might keep Sykes/Azaz ahead of him. Also, Sykes offers some versatility. My thinking is that Szmodics is still worthy of a look which is where you had doubts.

    On your second question, he has form for selecting larger squads and reducing. For example, he named a 25 man squad for the last round of games. And I'm sure he's brought more players in for previous events.

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    I think I'd include Brady for his dead ball deliveries alone (it's either him or Hourihane - need one of them to take the set plays). Cullen doesn't get any whip on the ball when he takes the set-pieces, making them easier to defend and harder to attack.
    Duffy and Hendrick will do well to make the squad, and I'd drop Travers for O'Leary.
    Seem to recall Kenny taking about playing with wingers when he was appointed and playing with wingers being the default Irish style of play. Think this is where the recruitment of Johnston has come from. And selecting options to play a 10 is no-brainer.

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    A bit scorched earth with the midfield and don't expect this to be anything like the actual squad, but this is one geared for a new campaign, recognising that a lot of what we've tried has failed. Maybe a case for Hodge, but decided to go with players who are in form and currently playing. The exception is Festy because his potential in a position where we are reliant on aging legs warrants speedier integration into the international set-up. No Parrott. To be honest, it's looking increasingly unlikely that he will ever become a goalscoring striker. Talented footballer maybe, but not doing enough to merit selection at the minute.

    Keepers - Bazunu, Kelleher, Travers
    Defenders - Coleman, Doherty, Collins, Egan, O'Shea, Omobamidele, O'Dowda, Ebosele
    Midfielders - Cullen, Molumby, Smallbone, Knight, Sykes, Connell, Szomdics
    Forwards - Obafemi, Ogbene, Ferguson, Idah, Azaz

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    Quote Originally Posted by ifk101 View Post
    I think I'd include Brady for his dead ball deliveries alone (it's either him or Hourihane - need one of them to take the set plays).
    I'm not sure we can carry that level of dead weight, just to take set pieces. Hourihane has been consistently crap for Ireland and his set pieces have been almost as bad as his general play to be honest. Brady seems to have moved into the "unused substitute at Preston" stage of his career. He'd get eaten alive against France with his lack of pace.

    If we really feel we need someone else on the field to take free kicks and corners we should just start Smallbone.
    Keane O'Shea Given Best Smallbone

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    My preferred squad fwiw

    Keepers - Bazunu, Kelleher, Travers
    Defenders - Coleman, Doherty, Ebosele, Collins, Egan, O'Shea, Lenihan, Omobamidele, Duffy, Manning, McClean
    Midfielders - Cullen, Hodge, Molumby, Smallbone, Knight, Szmodics, O'Dowda, Johnson,
    Forwards - Obafemi, Ogbene, Ferguson, Parrott, Connolly.
    Bring Back Belfast Celtic F.C.

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    Connolly's injured isn't he?

    I'm not sure the tweaks - which is generally what Travers/O'Leary or Parrott/Connolly/Idah/Azaz or Brady/Sykes/Connell generally are - are going to address the core problem of how we face weaker teams unfortunately (thinking of the Latvia game here of course). I suppose that's a silly point in a thread about what the squad might be, but I don't see anything in the variations above that'd drastically improve on previous performances v Lithuania/Malta/Luxembourg/Azerbaijan.

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