MARTIN O’NEILL will be looking to put his own stamp on the Ireland squad in the coming weeks and one significant part of international football is making full use of the pool of players at your disposal.
The ‘Granny Rule’ has worked with varying success for Ireland over the years and below we have picked out three players who could add something to the current group.
1. Curtis Davies
Davies heads clear against Aston Villa. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Press Association Images
With Richard Dunne and John O’Shea both a couple of years into their thirties and few options other than Ciaran Clarke behind them, Ireland could really do with a centre half playing at the top level.
Curtis Davies has been a regular in the Hull City backline this season and the 28-year-old, who qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents, is believed to be wanted by the FAI already.
O’Neill signed Davies from West Brom for £10m in 2008 but was criticised by the player for his lack of first team opportunities so their relationship would need some rebuilding.
2. Callum McManaman
McManaman taking on Luke Chambers of Ipswich Town. Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/EMPICS Sport
Despite being relegated last season, Callum McManaman was one of Wigan Athletic’s shining lights.
The Liverpool-born winger scored six goals for the Latics and put in a man-of-the-match performance during their FA Cup final shock win over Manchester City.
Although he has previously lined out for England’s U20s, the 22-year-old is eligible to play for Ireland.
3. Patrick Bamford
Bamford is congratulated after scoring another goal for MK Dons. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images
20-year-old Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford is rated highly at Stamford Bridge and has been impressing during a loan spell with MK Dons.
12 goals in 19 appearances means his parent club are hoping to send him to a bigger club when his short term deal ends in the New Year.
He has already featured for Ireland at U18s level but has since played U19s for England and U21 boss Noel King is reportedly hoping to persuade him to accept a call-up.