John Egan named captain as McCarthy makes 10 changes

Tonight's starting team against Bulgaria. Credit: FAI.

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has made a total of 10 changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Switzerland last Thursday for tonight’s friendly international with Bulgaria at the Aviva Stadium.

John Egan will captain the senior side in tonight’s clash with a country Ireland has not beaten since 1987.

Sheffield United centre-half John Egan, who has so far failed to dislodge either Shane Duffy or Richard Keogh from their central defensive roles, will see his consistency in the Premier League with his club recognised this evening by the national team manager, when he starts in the middle of the back four.

Tonight’s 7.45pm kick-off will also see Aston Villa’s Conor Hourihane start at left back for the second time in his professional career as McCarthy seeks a replacement for regular left back Enda Stevens.

Stevens, who picked up a yellow card in last Thursday night’s draw with Switzerland, will miss October’s crucial Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia in Tbilisi.

Mark Travers will make his senior international debut in goal, with midfielder Josh Cullen also playing for the senior side for the first time, while both James Collins and Shamrock Rovers’ Jack Byrne look set for their senior debuts from the bench.

McCarthy has also stated that striker Scott Hogan will play some role in tonight’s international as both Callum Robinson and scorer against Switzerland, David McGoldrick, miss this evening fixture.

Only four of the experimental side named by McCarthy have played in Euro 2020 qualifiers: Alan Browne, Alan Judge, Scott Hogan and Hourihane.

The Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria last met in 2010 when they played out two 1-1 draw.


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