Mick McCarthy held a pre-match press conference this afternoon before Ireland’s EURO 2020 qualifier versus Georgia tomorrow. The big news coming out of the Ireland manager’s latest press conference is that Shane Duffy will start in tomorrow’s crucial EURO 2020 qualifier.
Shane Duffy has been a big doubt for Ireland in the week leading up to Saturday’s game. Duffy was left out of Mick McCarthy’s original squad for Ireland’s upcoming qualifiers. However, the talismanic center-back traveled to Georgia with the Ireland squad this week.
McCarthy confirmed in today’s press conference that Duffy has been training with the squad this week. The center-back has taken part in today’s training session, which is encouraging ahead of tomorrow’s game.
Speaking about Duffy’s fitness levels, McCarthy stated that he had to limit Duffy’s participation in training this week. The center-back was given a rest-day on Thursday, something he wasn’t too excited about. Duffy’s enthusiasm about participating in this week’s training signifies that he may be ready for 90 minutes this Saturday.
McCarthy confirmed that Duffy will be playing versus Georgia on Saturday. The head coach stated that “it would be ridiculous of me (…) for him not to be in my team”.
Saturday’s game versus Georgia will be Duffy’s first game since the 14th of September. Duffy has been recovering from a knee injury for the past month. He was left out of Brighton’s last three Premier League games.
Duffy’s injury caused concern among Irish football fans. Duffy and Richard Keogh had been an ever-present center-back partnership throughout Ireland’s EURO 2020 qualification campaign. Going into this international break, both defenders were absent from Mick McCarthy’s squad.
Keogh will still miss this weekend’s game. The Derby County center-back has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to a drink-driving related injury. However, Duffy’s presence will be a big boost to Ireland’s backline. Sheffield United center-back John Egan has been patiently waiting for an opportunity in the Irish national team. He is likely to partner Duffy in what would be a strong center-back partnership versus Georgia.
McCarthy made sure to stress that he, and his team, will not be underestimating a tough Georgia side this Saturday. Georgia held Ireland’s qualification rivals Denmark to a 0-0 draw at home in their last group game. It will not be an easy task for Ireland to break them down this weekend.
Georgia have taken just one point from 10 previous games versus the Republic of Ireland. Ireland will hope to maintain their good run of form, and good streak versus Georgia this Saturday. If Ireland pick up all three points in Georgia, EURO 2020 qualification will be within touching distance.
You can watch tomorrow’s Ireland match on RTE 2. Coverage of the game will begin at 1:45 PM, while kick-off is at 2 PM.