Ireland got off to a slow start in their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, but they still managed to pick up results. Ok, so 1-0 wins against Gibraltar and Georgia, to begin with, wasn’t exactly scintillating, but it’s three wins and a draw in their first four games. That’s a qualification form.
Ireland have had some great players over the years, and they’ll be hoping their current crop of talent can guide them to another major competition. There’s no Theirry Henry this time to stop them, but do Mick McCarthy’s side have what it takes to make it to Euro 2020?
Ireland have two tough games coming up against Switzerland and Bulgaria. They’re both at home which is a big plus, just like Switzerland’s flag, and two wins from two here could well be enough.
It’s interesting to see that the boys in green are still 4/1 with many bookies to win the group. It might be worth jumping on that as two wins from the next two would see their odds tumble. Especially with Denmark still having to play Switzerland. Bet365 promo codes are awesome, so why not grab one of those if you’re not already signed up with them. Free bets to use on the football? Yes please. You’re welcome.
After the two September encounters, Ireland travel to Georgia in October, Switzerland three days after that, and end with a home match against Denmark. It’s the games against the Swiss and the Danes that are crucial. They’re the two who are expected to be first and second in this group. If Ireland loses to both nations, they can kiss their qualification hopes goodbye. But they’ve got more than enough quality in their squad to give both teams a scare. Especially at home.
If Ireland manage to qualify, there are some great players coming through who will look to stake a claim for a space on the plane for Euro 2020.
Young Irish Talent
It’s difficult to say who will shine this season, but there are so many Irish youngsters close to the first-team action who could give Mick McCarthy are selection headache if they manage to get a run in the side at club level. Let’s take a look at a few.
Funnily enough, Cullen represented England at Under 16 level before switching his allegiance to Ireland. After playing 14 times for the Under 21s and enjoying some good loan spells at Bolton and Charlton in the last couple of seasons from West Ham, he’s now putting in the performances that have merited a callup. McCarthy’s not silly, he knows talent when he sees it, and Josh Cullen has all the makings of a top central midfield player. He could go on to be an Ireland great if he keeps working hard.
This lad is only 17, but he’s already getting fans excited for the future. He’s bagged goals for Ireland’s under 17s and 19s but has yet to appear for the Under 21s. He’s that good, we could see him grab a full cap and skip the Under 21s entirely. He’s not getting any play time at Spurs, though, which is a slight worry. He’s already up and running for the season for Spurs’ Under 23s, but it would be great to see how he gets on in the first team. Will the big stage faze him? Probably not. Maybe he’ll get a chance in the Carabao Cup.
If he fulfils his potential, Ireland could have the next Robbie Keane on their hands. Big boots to fill, but he’s an incredible talent.
At just 19, Michael Obafemi has already enjoyed his debut for Ireland. He came on as a sub when they drew 0-0 against Denmark in the Nations League. He was also he first ever player born in the 2000s to earn a senior cap. He has all the makings of a top, top striker, but he’s been out injured for a while and needs to get back to some sort of form before grabbing another cap. He’s also got to force his way back into Southampton’s starting eleven, which won’t be easy now they’ve signed Che Adams. Definitely one for the future, but he may miss out if he doesn’t play much for Southampton this season.
Others who may well find themselves in contention for a Euro 2020 place if they get some game time with their club sides include Aaron Connolly at Brighton, Adam Idah at Norwich, Caoimhin Kelleher at Liverpool, Jimmy Dunne at Burnley, John Mahon at Sligo Rovers, Kian Flanagan at Crystal Palace, and Lee O’Connor at Manchester United. Talent in abundance. Let’s hope Ireland make it to Euro 2020 and let’s hope we see some bright young sparks setting Europe alight.