Part 2: How Ireland's players fared in the Premier League

After looking at the defenders and goalkeepers, it's the players further up the field

BY Raf Diallo 14:28 Tuesday 23 May 2017, 14:28 23 May 2017

Everton's James McCarthy celebrates scoring his sides second goal with Romelu Lukaku (right) during the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool. Picture by Martin Rickett PA Wire/PA Images

When it comes to goals scored, it wasn't a vintage year for Irish players in the Premier League.

And in an increasingly globalised Premier League, there aren't as many players either from these shores or eligible to play for Ireland featuring routinely in the English top flight in comparison to yesteryear.

But of those Ireland internationals that are, how did they fare during the 2016-17 season? In Part 1 we looked at the defenders and Darren Randolph, so this time it's the midfielders and forwards.

Glenn Whelan 

The midfielder has always been a regular at Stoke City in the Premier League era and retains the trust of his club managers just as he has done at international since Giovanni Trapattoni took charge.

Despite increasing competition at Stoke, he barely missed a league game this season, finishing up with 30 appearances from a possible 38 and the vast majority of those being a full 90 minute display.

At 33, he is entering veteran stage but his value is unchanged in the eyes of managers and team-mates, even if fans don't always see everything he provides.

James McCarthy

The mood music to his season has been one of speculation linking him with an exit. But the Everton player has remained at Goodison Park for now, although only rarely was he able to show his abilities on the Goodison Park pitch this season.

In a campaign hampered by muscular injuries, first with his groin and then with a season ending hamstring problem, McCarthy has only been able to make 12 appearances. Only three of those were a full 90 minutes and in terms of statistical contributions, one goal and one assist came in a 6-3 win against Bournemouth back in early February.

After such a season, his long term Everton future remains unclear. 

James McClean

The West Brom winger was one of Ireland's standout performers in the 2018 World Cup qualifier so far. In parallel, his club form saw him used regularly by Tony Pulis with 34 appearances in all.

However, he was subbed on in just over 60% of those games. His contribution in the Premier League was also relatively modest with just one goal and two assists, finding himself behind the likes of fellow Baggies wingers Nacer Chadli and Matt Phillips when it came to statistical markers of creativity.

On the disciplinary side he avoided any red cards but was booked nine times. 

Darron Gibson

The midfielder had become a fringe member of the Everton squad in the first half of a season that saw him make zero appearances.

In search of first team football, the 29 year old Derry native made the switch to a Sunderland en route to relegation and was given regular football by his former Everton boss David Moyes. From the start of February, Gibson made 12 appearances and only missed four games during his time at the Stadium of Light last season.

David Meyler

The Cork man's season ended due to a knee injury in April. But before then, Meyler had featured regularly at the start of the campaign for Hull City at the heart of midfield, finishing up with 20 Premier League appearances, although his minutes decreased as the campaign wore on.

The highlight of his campaign was a goal at Anfield against Liverpool, although the downside was the Tigers lost 5-1.

Robbie Brady

The hero of Lille was not a Premier League player for the first half of the season until he was bought by Burnley from Norwich in the January window.

His impact was immediate with a goal from a free-kick on his first start against eventual champions Chelsea.

All in all, he made 14 appearances for Burnley, adding two further assists to that goal against Chelsea. 

The 25 year old has been in and out of the starting lineup since arriving at Turf Moor but has been used in every game but one since his debut. 

Burnley's Irish trio: Stephen Ward, Jeff Hendrick and Robbie Brady

Jeff Hendrick

Brady's arrival meant Jeff Hendrick could resume a link-up that has borne fruit at international level and when the duo were childhood team-mates for St Kevin's Boys.

Hendrick arrived six months earlier and had his first season of Premier League football having previously played for Derby County.

The 25 year old scored one of the goals of the early part of the season with a superbly taken long range half volley against Bournemouth in December. That was his second goal of the campaign.

While his performances haven't captured a huge deal of attention, Hendrick has been trusted regularly by Sean Dyche who has granted him 90 minute showings in all but six of the 32 league games he has featured in.

The lowlight of his season was clearly the red card for a foul on Watford's Jose Holebas in February which Match of the Day pundit Trevor Sinclair branded "cowardly"

Harry Arter

The Bournemouth midfielder faced competition from Arsenal loanee Jack Wilshere this season but kept his place throughout and ended up making 35 appearances in all, including a goal and four assists, which compares well with Wilshere who did not score and provided two assists in a season that was curtailed in April due to injury. 

Like Hendrick, the low point on the pitch was a red card as a second yellow against West Ham in the second game of the season saw the Ireland midfielder dismissed. 

Shane Long

There was plenty of hope that the Southampton striker could build on last season's double figure haul of goals (the first of his Premier League career).

Instead, he fell behind Charlie Austin in the pecking order before the returning Jay Rodriguez and new signing Manolo Gabbiadini moved ahead of him, restricting the Tipp man to cameo appearances as an impact substitute.

Only three goals would come in the league and he also missed a penalty in a win over Middlesbrough earlier this month. 

His difficulties, albeit in a season that has still seen the 30 year old make over 30 appearances for his club, has been played out in a backdrop of speculation about an exit from St Mary's.

Paddy Mulligan underlines reasons for Shane Long shortfall this season

Jonathan Walters

Like Glenn Whelan, Walters' efforts are appreciated by Mark Hughes at Stoke and his four league goals meant he was the joint highest scoring Irishman in the Premier League during 2016-17.

His goal return is mitigated by the fact that he was sidelined during January and February with a knee problem, yet he still made regular appearances for Stoke despite stiff competition up front. 

Eleven of his 23 PL appearances were a full 90 minutes.

Part 1: How Ireland's players fared in the Premier League

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