The young players we want to see against Iceland

After a hard fought draw against Wales on Friday night, the Republic of Ireland return to action on Tuesday night when they face Iceland.

And while this may be a friendly game, nobody has forgotten how Iceland knocked England out of Euro 2016 last year so this will be another stern test for Martin O’Neill’s side.

The experienced quartet of John O’Shea, Jonathan Walters, Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy have all returned to their clubs ahead of the game, freeing up space for some fresh blood.

Burnley midfielder Robbie Brady will be first in line to take one of those free spots, and here’s who we are hoping to see more of at the Aviva Stadium.

Daryl Horgan

Horgan has had somewhat of a lightning-fast rise through the ranks after signing for Preston North End at the beginning of this year.

Football Soccer - Austria v Republic of Ireland - 2018 World Cup Qualifying European Zone - Group D - Ernst-Happel Stadium, Vienna, Austria - 12/11/16 Republic of Ireland's Daryl Horgan and Harry Arter warm up before the match  Reuters / Leonhard Foeger Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Reuters / Leonhard Foeger Livepic

The 24-year-old began the season with Dundalk where he helped them reach the group stages of the Europa League before making his Preston debut against Arsenal in the FA Cup.

The winger has gone on to make 12 league appearances for the Championship side and was part of the Ireland squad back in November.

He didn’t make an appearance though so we think it’s time to see what Horgan can do on the international stage.

Andy Boyle

Centre back Boyle followed Horgan from the three-time Irish champions to Preston, having made over 150 appearances for the Lilywhites.

The 26-year-old was Dundalk captain for their Europa League group games which saw them secure a respectable draw against AZ Alkmaar before beating Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

Boyle made his Preston debut against Derby County just this month, making it all the more important O’Neill takes the chance to see what Boyle is capable of.

John Egan

Egan has made 36 appearances for Brentford so far this season, and scored four goals, to earn himself a place in O’Neill’s squad.

Britain Football Soccer - Chelsea v Brentford - FA Cup Fourth Round - Stamford Bridge - 28/1/17 Brentford's John Egan in action with Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek  Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details.
Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic

The Ireland manager has visited Brentford a couple of times already this season to keep an eye on the 24-year-old and has obviously been impressed.

Egan and O’Neill know each other well from their time as player and manager at Sunderland back in 2011, though the defender never made a first team appearance for the Black Cats.

Now it is time to see how Egan manages the big occasion.


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