The Ireland newcomers we'd like to see against Iceland

The friendly gives an opportunity to give some experience to uncapped players

BY Raf Diallo 21:51 Monday 27 March 2017, 21:51 27 Mar 2017

Daryl Horgan ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

With 11 points from a possible 15 attained so far by Ireland in World Cup qualifying Group D, Tuesday night's friendly against Iceland gives Martin O'Neill the chance to be flexible with his options.

There are no points to play for, of course, at the Aviva Stadium but there is a crucial qualifier against Austria to come in under three months and that will partly influence Tuesday's game.

However, as injuries showed in the build-up to the Wales game, having options to slot in will be important and thus the more experience those options have the better.

Three players who remain in the squad have yet to win a cap and perhaps could start or come off the bench to make their international bows.

Daryl Horgan

The most high profile of the uncapped names left in the shortened squad, the former Dundalk winger has shone since touching down in the English Championship to feature in a Preston North End name packed with Irish names.

Called up for the Ireland squad in November on the back of impressive performances for Dundalk in the Europa League, the 24 year old has since scored twice and assisted three more for Preston.

James McClean and Aiden McGeady are the natural experienced wingers at O'Neill's disposal and Horgan has the potential to become something similar, so one would expect a debut cap to come against Iceland.

O'Neill has suggested as much, that Horgan will get game time.

Andy Boyle

The same goes for the other Preston player that arrived from Dundalk. The defender was not introduced to the Preston first team as quickly as Horgan, with defences not usually altered by managers who prefer not to make too many changes at the back for reasons of stability.

But in the weeks leading up to Ireland's international commitment, the 26 year old centre back had become a more regular presence, making three 90 minute appearances in a row for Preston against Derby County, Reading and Blackburn Rovers.

As he gains traction at club level, O'Neill is now set to introduce him to the senior international scene. 

John Egan ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Conor Hourihane 

The midfielder made the move to Aston Villa in January after three years at Barnsley.

The 26 year old Bandon native has not won his first cap yet but with the nature of the friendly and the many injuries Ireland have suffered in midfield in the lead up to the international break, Hourihane could see some game time. 

His numbers in the Championships have been distinctly impressive when it comes to creativity with seven goals and 14 assists. Two of those have come since his late January move to Villa.

John Egan

The Brentford defender has been capped at under-17, under-19 and under-21 level and his progression has now taken the 24 year old to an Ireland senior call up.

Game time at club level has not been a problem for the player, with the Cork-born defender amassing 33 appearances and four goals already this campaign.

With veteran John O'Shea having returned to Sunderland after the Wales match, an opportunity for same game time has appeared for Egan.


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