“We know what we have to do against Denmark and we will look to the tried and the trusted to win that game.”
With that, Ireland boss Mick McCarthy taketh away.
In the next breath, he giveth.
“But who knows what will happen against New Zealand,” he said. “Maybe someone will take their chance in that match and give me something to think about.”
New Zealand’s football team – The All Whites – are coming to the Aviva Stadium on November 14 for a friendly tie with Ireland that will be the appetiser for our crucial Euro 202o Qualifier with Denmark.
Ireland need to beat the Danes to automatically qualify for a tournament, next year, that will feature Group E fixtures as well as a Last 16 encounter. A draw to Georgia and defeat to Switzerland tilted the balance against McCarthy’s side but, as the boss has frequently said, a home win will get Ireland over the line.
On Tuesday, upon announcing his squad, McCarthy said, “The New Zealand game is a chance to have a look at the players who are fighting to be in the team and some of the players fighting to be in the squad… it could be the perfect opportunity to have a look at Troy Parrott, for example, and see how he makes the step-up to senior international football.”
Parrott is one of several young players that have impressed in Stephen Kenny’s U21 set-up. It is important to note, though, that the U21s have their own qualifier match, away to Armenia, the same night. It meant the likes of goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and forward Michael Obafemi were released back to Kenny. Parrott is suspended for the Armenia match but good to play in the senior friendly.
Taking a look at the final squad, selected by McCarthy, and with one eye on the team we would like to see start against Denmark, just four days later, this is the Starting XI (below) we would love to see start against New Zealand.
The XI is a mix of pro experience – Matt Doherty, Ciaran Clark, Alan Browne and Jeff Hendrick – with some exciting young talents and players with an attacking, ball-playing bent.
It is essentially a 4-3-3, with O’Dowda and Robinson up on either side of Parrott and Shamrock Rovers’ Jack Byrne in the playmaker role, with Alan Browne and Jeff Hendrick locking down centre midfield.
Our Ireland XI
1. Mark Travers
2. Matt Doherty
3. Derrick Williams
4. Kevin Long
5. Ciaran Clark
6. Jeff Hendrick
7. Callum O’Dowda
8. Alan Browne
10. Jack Byrne
11. Callum Robinson
9. Troy Parrott
That leaves the likes of Josh Cullen, Robbie Brady, Aaron Connolly, Seani Maguire, Alan Judge, Scott Hogan and more ready to come on and add impetus in the second half.