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Opinion: Consistency is the word for Stephen Kenny

Connolly out is the main headline

Qatar World Cup ambitions are long done for Republic of Ireland but it is imperative that Republic of Ireland finish as high up the qualification group as possible.

This squad selection from Stephen Kenny raises few surprises with the inclusion of Seamus Coleman, Jayson Molumby and Alan Browne expected.

Coleman returns to the squad after injury while Molumby and Browne returns from suspension.

The big talking point is the omission of Aaron Connolly and the actual reason for why he is not included.

Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter muddied the waters somewhat by claiming that Stephen Kenny did not pick the player

“I imagine he would be frustrated and disappointed not to play for his country, because he wants to do that, but at the same time we respect the decision of Stephen. That’s life. You have to perform, you have to play, you have to accept that the coach makes those decisions. That’s what Aaron does.”

Graham Potter

Stephen Kenny may have come out and tried to clarify the situation today but the manager has already made his intentions clear about the player. Connolly needs game time and a loan move is required for this to happen.

Potter and Brighton may like the player but Connolly is quite frankly rotting on the bench and reserves. Connolly is now at the stage of his career where he needs to be playing regular football to develop further.

It is not a stretch to suggest then that the player has important decisions to make in the coming weeks. January window is looming on the horizon and Connolly needs game time.

The big question for Stephen Kenny in this squad is who he selects for the Portuguese fixture. Coleman will be looking to get back into the starting lineup but Andrew Omobamidele has not put a foot wrong in his international career so far.

The lack of game minutes is a concern. Matt Doherty has hardly featured with Tottenham this season. The same could be leveled at Adam Idah.

Other players have not had a regular run in their sides. Callum Robinson is making do with appearances off the bench with WBA. The form and fitness of players leading into this fixture perhaps a concern?

Kenny is though staying loyal to his core of the squad with this latest selection. Will Keane is named in this squad after not featuring for the team in the last international window. Will we see game time for the Wigan Athletic striker?

Portugal announced their squad as well. No major surprises with Sanchez and Felix included to the squad. They missed out when Republic of Ireland played Portugal last September.

Portugal need three points. Republic of Ireland will look to play spoiler here and with a full crowd at the Aviva Stadium, anything is possible. The pressure is firmly on Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal here.

The significant test for Republic of Ireland is the away fixture to Luxembourg. That is our cup final to secure third spot in the group and position ourselves to realistically have aspirations of Euro Championship qualification.