Shop Window: Irish internationals on the move this summer

The summer international break for Ireland has now concluded and Stephen Kenny has achieved his first victory as Ireland boss against Andorra followed by an encouraging draw away to Euro 2020 side Hungary in Budapest.

As the players head off for a much-needed break after a hectic campaign, many of them will be in discussions with clubs and agents plotting their next moves.

Both displays, Andorran goal aside, show semblances of a team and a way of playing coming together however there is still much work to be done. Stephen Kenny and his coaching team will be also be aware that many of the players at their disposal need regular, first team football in order to be ready when called upon.

Here’s a look at some of the more pressing cases as the transfer window begins. 

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Robbie Brady

This one is obvious given the fact Brady has been released by Burnley, who once broke their transfer record to sign him. His spell at Burnley has been largely frustrating for the winger, with niggling injuries along with a rather serious knee problem in 2017-18 which seen him miss much of that season.

Brady gave Irish football one of its greatest moments, up there with the Dave O’Leary penalty in 1990 and Keane v Germany in 2002 but since then his impact on the international stage has probably been less than he had anticipated after EURO 2016.

Reports have linked Brady with a move with several clubs including Southampton, West Brom and even Celtic. Stephen Kenny has used Brady in a central creative role when he has featured under him but is more natural as a left winger whilst equally adept at left full.

Top of the list for Irish fans and management alike will be regular, injury free football for the 29-year-old and a return to his best form.

Caoimhin Kelleher

It has been rumoured in recent weeks that Kelleher will be allowed to leave Liverpool on loan for the upcoming season with Adrian, the current number two at the club set to agree a new deal.

With the absence of Darren Randolph in recent squads, Kelleher and Gavin Bazunu have emerged as what looks like the most likely back-ups. A spell as a regular number one for Kelleher will do his development and his international chances the world of good.

The Cork man made his senior international debut against Hungary and produced a string of excellent saves throughout the second half to deny the Hungarians. Kelleher also looked equally comfortable on the ball and commanded his penalty area well as Bazunu had done before him.

Troy Parrott

Parrott has had a bit of a breakout season in 2020-21 given that he has now experienced senior men’s football at Millwall and Ipswich followed by scoring his first senior club and international goals.

The Tottenham youngster is still only 19 and in the recent international break has shown an ability to carry the ball, run at defences and general try to make this happen in an attacking sense. His clear confidence and willingness to work hard for the team will surely make him a mainstay in squads to come.

That said, his development will be aided by regular first team football and hopefully at a Championship level at least. First team chances may be limited at Spurs who have a depth of attacking talent so we may just see Parrott ply his trade elsewhere next season.

Adam Idah

A hat-trick in the FA Cup back in early 2020 for Norwich showed what Adam Idah was about after his goal scoring at Under 21 level. 16 appearances in total that season as Norwich were relegated to the Championship led to promising signs for 20-year-old.

A decent start to the 2020-21 season and an international debut would follow however injury at the turn of the year has since scuppered his progress.

Idah did make an impact in the recent international friendlies, a sub appearance against Andorra and an encouraging spell against Hungary have done his international hopes no harm. The Cork native showed a willingness to run behind and stretch the Hungarians which worked well on several occasion with support from Troy Parrott and Jason Knight.

With his club Norwich now promoted back to the Premier League first team chances may dry up for Idah and if that happens a loan move away from Norwich for first team football may be beneficial to both player and country.

Daryl Horgan

Horgan is a player that Stephen Kenny knows very well from their time at Dundalk. The winger scored his first international goal against Andorra and is another which you would think could be a big player given his directness and ability to beat a man.

Twenty-nine in August, Horgan is far from a player for the future but can still have an impact over the next couple of years or so as one of the few Irish wingers currently playing regularly.

Unfortunately for his club Wycombe, they have returned to League 1 at the first time of asking which is not ideal for the Galway man. Horgan would no doubt be a regular starter for Wycombe if he were to stay but from an Irish perspective, it would be nice to see him play at a higher level on a regular basis.

Gavin Bazunu

Bazunu has established himself as current number one in the absence of Darren Randolph. Starts in the last four internationals have shown Bazunu to be a steady option with good distribution which will be a key part of how Ireland want to play.

A loan spell last season at Rochdale gave Bazunu a regular stint at first team football after making his debut at senior level for Shamrock Rovers at 16 in 2018. Rochdale were relegated to League Two, however, so it is likely that Manchester City will look to send Bazunu out at a higher level to continue his development.

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Conor Coventry

A player who was not included in the recent Irish squad but is captain of the Under-21s. Coventry was a part of a brilliant midfield pairing with Jayson Molumby for Stephen Kenny at Under-21 level but has yet to make the leap to the senior squad despite being included for the recent friendly against Qatar.

Coventry was impressive in the recent Under-21 victory against Australia in Marbella as Ireland managed to see out the Aussies with a late winner from Bohs midfielder Ross Tierney.

At club level however, Coventry has yet to make a senior competitive appearance for his club West Ham despite being named on the bench on numerous occasions by David Moyes this season. A loan move to Lincoln the season before last proved unsuccessful and it would appear that Coventry needs to break into a side somewhere to receive international recognition.

Ireland Player Power Rankings: Summer 2021 Edition

Shane Duffy

It would be fair to say that Duffy’s dream move to Celtic did not work on many levels as the Bhoys put up a dismal claim for ten in a row.

Irish captain Seamus Coleman spoke brilliantly about a difficult year for the Derry man recently, who will be more than happy to forget the last 12 months of football and start afresh next season.

Centre backs however are not in short supply at Brighton with Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster, Ben White and Dan Burn amongst others so a move away from the Seagulls may be on the cards for the 29-year-old.

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Added to this list of potential moves could be James McCarthy who has recently released from Crystal Palace. Fellow midfielders Conor Hourihane and Jayson Molumby are returning from loan spells in the Championship to parent clubs Aston Villa and Brighton respectively, so it remains to be seen if they are in the long-term plans or if another move is on the horizon.

Stephen Kenny and his coaching team will take lots of encouragement from the recent break, not least two positive results. It would seem however that the short to medium term future of this team is dependent on many of the promising players at our disposal finding a new club this summer.

The Author

Damien Byrne

St Pat's and Arsenal fan. Writing about things around the world of football that catch my eye.

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