The Football League home internationals #3: Republic of Ireland
After a short break due to the site upgrade, it’s time for the next instalment of the brief series looking at how the home nations would line up if they could only field players from the Football League. The Republic of Ireland are next in focus and Rich Prew has selected the following eleven names:
Goalkeeper: Keiren Westwood – Coventry City
English-born current understudy to Shay Given and can safely assumed to be his successor. A young keeper at Carlisle United, he attracted rave reviews in League One that brought about a move to Coventry City where his progress has continued – evidenced by his selection for the Championship PFA Team of the year last season.
Right Back: Paul McShane – Hull City
Dubliner McShane was a teenager and FA Youth Cup Winner at Manchester United and now has over 100 games in the top two leagues for WBA, Sunderland and now Hull City. Only 24 years old, already capped sixteen times and a regular Trapattoni squad member.
Centre Back: Sean St Ledger – Preston North End
Twelve times capped and current first choice for the national team. A young player at Peterborough, oft-mooted bigger things arrived with a move to Preston, punctuated last year by a brief spell on loan at Middlesbrough. When a permanent transfer fell through, he returned to Preston where he is now a 150-game-plus defensive stalwart, and is a superb reader of the game from the back.
Centre Back: Damien Delaney – Ipswich Town
Cork’s Delaney came to the UK when signed by Leicester City nearly a decade ago. Struggling to breakthrough in the Midlands, and after several loan spells, he excelled as Hull City rose through the leagues. Then bought by big-spending QPR and subsequently by Ipswich Town. More regularly a centre-back, Delaney was a regular left back in his younger days.
Left Back: Kevin Kilbane – Hull City
106 times capped and National team legend, now 33 year old Kilbane is the most capped player ever for the Republic alongside Shay Given. A pacy winger when younger most notably for Sunderland and Everton, his role began to change when at Wigan Athletic and now plays most often at left back. Now with Hull City in the Football League, opportunites under new manager Nigel Pearson have been fewer than in the past two seasons when the side were struggling in the Premier League.
Right Midfield: Jonathan Douglas – Swindon Town
Capped 8 times by Steve Staunton between 2004-07 whilst at Leeds United, Douglas made his debut for Monaghan in the League of Ireland at 16 years old. Came across to Blackburn Rovers and had many loan spells in the Football League before making his name at Leeds in a variety of positions. Transferred to Swindon Town in 2009 and in the vanguard of a huge improvement of fortunes under Danny Wilson, including a Play off Final.
Centre Midfield: Owen Garvan – Crystal Palace
A much sought-after youth player at Home Farm in Dublin, Garvan turned down Celtic amongst others to come over to Ipswich Town in 2004. Over 150 games later, he moved to Crystal Palace in the Summer. Sixteen appearances for the national U21 side, and included in Trapattoni’s first senior squad.
Centre Midfield: Wes Hoolahan – Norwich City
Extremely talented play-maker, originally a winger, who made his name at Blackpool in their run to the Championship having started his career at Shelbourne where he won three League of Ireland titles and played in Europe in Champions League qualifiers. Transferred to Norwich City in 2008. Has played “in the hole” at the top of a diamond midfield formation for Paul Lambert’s side both in their promotion success last season and now in the Championship. This has transformed his goal-scoring game – 13 goals last year and 3 already this season.
Left Midfield: Keith Treacy – Preston North End
Another Dubliner, Treacy was an occasional first tream player in four years at Blackburn Rovers, with success last year on loan at Sheffiled United. Transferred to Preston North End in the Summer. Possessor of a fierce shot, with long range goals a speciality. Capped for the first time against Argentina this summer.
Striker: Shane Long – Reading
A former hurler from Tipperary, Long came to England together with Kevin Doyle, the pair signed from Cork City by Reading. Over 120 games later, Long is now a regular in the forward line and has scored over 20 goals. Fifteen caps for the senior team. Occasional disciplinary problems at club level should not detract from his major talent (and wonderful left foot) that has often been on national display in the FA Cup. Scored the goal that knocked out Liverpool two years ago, and a brace against Aston Villa in the Quareter Finals last season.
Striker: Sean Scannell – Crystal Palace
Capped by his Country at all levels from U17 to the “B” team and selected by Trapattoni for senior 40 and 28 man squads, 20-year-old Scannell has not been selected for the full team yet but is one to watch. A sometime winger with searing pace, he is regarded as one of the best talents to come out of the Crystal Palace academy in recent years alongside the likes of Victor Moses, John Bostock and Nathaniel Clyne.