Stephen Kenny announced his Republic of Ireland squad for the Girona training camp today. An interesting squad which sees four newcomers join the senior squad. Hawkeye Sidekick reflects on the squad announced.
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (West Ham United), Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Gavin Bazunu (Manchester City)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Lee O’Connor (Glasgow Celtic), James McClean (Stoke City), Ryan Manning (Swansea City), Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion), Dara O’Shea (West Bromwich Albion), John Egan (Sheffield United), Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City)
Midfielders: Josh Cullen (Anderlecht), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Harry Arter (Nottingham Forest), Jason Knight (Derby County), Jayson Molumby (Brighton and Hove Albion), Jamie McGrath (St. Mirren), Daniel Mandroiu (Shamrock Rovers).
Forwards: Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion), James Collins (Luton Town), Adam Idah (Norwich City), Aaron Connolly (Brighton and Hove Albion), Troy Parrott (Tottenham Hotspur), Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Daryl Horgan (Wycombe Wanderers).
The inclusion of Randolph in the training camp is quite significant. Dean Kiely wants to work with his first choice keepers and run the rule over them, create the depth chart for September onwards.
Randolph has been a solid performer for the Republic of Ireland but there is now competition given Randolph’s lack of first team opportunities at West Ham United while Kelleher and Bazunu have impressed this season for their clubs.
Kenny’s ethos of passing it out from the back. Bazunu and Kelleher for me are better at this aspect of play than Randolph so for the West Ham United keeper, it is an opportunity to impress and show Kiely and Kenny his worth.
Mark Travers misses out. I think for Travers, he needs to sit down and reflect where he plays his first team football next term.
AFC Bournemouth will be a club in transition next year but he has failed to make an impact. A talent but needs first team action. I am not sure if Travers will get with his current club!
The headline here is the Andrew Omobamidele’s promotion from the U21 squad. The player has earned rave reviews for his performances with Norwich City at the end of the regular season.
The question is whether Omobamidele can improve even further next season to be considered for EPL fixtures. The player has the talent and this training camp is reward of that potential.
I am delighted Shane Duffy is included. A player who needs to be in this training camp, rebuild confidence and form. This is a camp where the coaches can work with the players on the game plan. Duffy should revel in this environment.
Duffy on form is required in this national side. His aerial power defensively and on attacking set pieces still for me is a key asset for this side.
The hope is that Lee O’Connor and Ryan Manning get game time but will they? I am disappointed that St. Mirren defender Dylan Connolly does not get a callup here. He was excellent this term. A missed opportunity from Kenny.
Harry Arter inclusion is an interesting subplot. Is this a genuine attempt from management to run the rule over the player or is this merely due to the number of midfield players unavailable?
There is a very youthful look to this midfield squad selection. Knight, Molumby, McGrath and Mandroiu. McGrath gets recognition for a standout season with St. Mirren while Danny Mandroiu is a player which Kenny admires.
Conor Hourihane and Josh Cullen should be prominent members of this midfield area but it would be good for management to run the rule on McGrath and particularly Mandroiu against Andorra.
Chiedozie Ogbene is the headline here. The Rotherham forward gets a callup. The player is a massive talent but minimal impact with the club this season. Is this a run the rule over the player in the training camp selection?
The lack of goals from this unit is a source of concern. The blame cannot be fully apportioned to this unit but the distinct lack of composure and presence in the penalty area during the Kenny era (so far) needs to be improved.
Does management persist with Connolly upfront or do they look for the Brighton & Hove Albion player to roam behind the main striker to create space and team attacking opportunities?
The squad for me should have included Odubeko or Shodipo who have had good cameos at the backend of this season for their clubs. Alofabi and Obafemi are looking on the onside, disappointing.
The lack of goals in this unit worries me. Troy Parrott becomes a focal figure here and wonder will Stephen Kenny pair the player up with James Collins or Adam Idah (who needs to step-up) for Andorra?
Contrary to what Stephen Kenny says, he desperately needs a win against Andorra to secure his first win as Republic of Ireland manager. I believe with a good training camp, that should be achieved.
The Hungarian clash looks more competitive but it is required to get the team shape and formation aligned for the September internationals.
The World Cup qualification campaign is over so it is time for Kenny and management to build a side with key personnel.
The final third conundrum will not be fixed in this training camp but at least, players can put their hand up for selection with standout performances in this training camp. Roll on next month!