This week saw Giovanni Trapattoni leave his post as Ireland manager after five years in charge. The question of ‘What Next?’ now plays on the minds of the Irish football faithful. Regardless of who the next Ireland manager may be, they will be inheriting a squad with some potential.
5: Robbie Brady
This young man may not be a familiar name to some, but he comes with good pedigree, being a Manchester United academy graduate.In order to further his career he took a loan move down the leagues to Hull City where he earned a permanent move.
Now back in the big time, expect Brady to flourish on the left hand side, a position he has made his own at Hull. He holds the record for most goals scored at U21 for Ireland and now he is at the point in his career where he can replicate it for the senior team.
4: Shane Duffy
Although yet to properly break onto the Premier League scene, Shane Duffy’s promising reputation goes before him.
Duffy is a strong character, not only exemplified by recovering from a life threatening injury gained during an Irish development game, but also by the powerful Centre Back becoming a consistent figure for Everton’s U21 side over the past two seasons.
He enjoyed a brief spell in this first team for Everton and impressed against the likes Tottenham and Aston Villa, but he has found his chances limited. Whether at Everton or another Premier League side, Duffy has the credentials to be a force for Ireland.
3: Ciaran Clark
Aston Villa may have struggled last season, particularly in the defensive department, but Paul Lambert holds Ciaran Clark in high regard.
Villa have started the new season much more promisingly and Clark will look to really push on this year. After coming through the previous relegation battle and signing a new three year deal, Clark will now possess a mental toughness that will see him force his way into the Ireland starting eleven.
2: Seamus Coleman
Possibly one of the best bargains in Premier League history for just £60,000, Seamus Coleman has gone onto establish himself as one of the most potent full backs in England. With one goal and assist already for the season, Coleman can be expected to add to his tally from the right back position.
His attacking nature will be pivotal to not only Everton’s season but also the future of Irish football. His pace is particularly impressive and you would expect he will become a focal point for Irish attacks under the new regime, just like Leighton Baines at Everton.
1: James McCarthy
As a new member of Everton’s growing Irish contingent, James McCarthy is one of the brightest young midfielders in the Premier League.
Ireland have been crying out for a creative player for years and now they have one in the form of McCarthy.
His passing game has the chance to be further enhanced under the stewardship of Roberto Martinez and this young man is going to go on to be the key player for whoever the new Irish manager is. Expect McCarthy to really turn heads this year in both the blue and green shirts.