Belfast Telegraph

Ireland's Euro2016 squad will be tough to call, says Martin O'Neill

By Phil Blanche

Martin O'Neill has named a provisional 40-man squad for the Republic of Ireland's two March friendlies to allow players to stake a claim for Euro 2016.

The Republic will host Switzerland and Slovakia in Dublin on March 25 and 29, their first games since they qualified for this summer's European Championships in France by beating Bosnia-Herzegovina in a November play-off.

Included for the first time are Wolves defender Matt Doherty, Aberdeen midfielder Jonathan Hayes and Peterborough's Chris Forrester. The squad, which also includes uncapped Brentford midfielder Alan Judge and America-based strikers Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle, will be shortened ahead of March 20.

O'Neill said: "The countdown to Euro 2016 starts now and we look forward to welcoming both Switzerland and Slovakia to the Aviva Stadium for what will be two very important games.

"I will have a very tough decision to name a final squad for Euro 2016 and that is why I want to give players a chance."

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND SQUAD: Randolph (West Ham), Forde (Millwall), Westwood (Sheff Wed), Elliot (Newcastle), Christie (Derby), Coleman (Everton), Keogh (Derby), O'Shea, (Sunderland), Pearce (Bristol City, on loan), Duffy (Blackburn), Clark (Aston Villa), McShane (Reading), Ward (Burnley), Cunningham (Preston), Doherty (Wolves), Brady (Norwich), McCarthy (Everton), Hendrick (Derby), Gibson (Everton), Arter (Bournemouth), O'Kane (Bournemouth), Whelan (Stoke), Green (Rotherham), Gleeson (Birmingham), Meyler (Hull), Quinn (Reading), McGeady (Sheff Wed, on loan), McClean (West Brom), Judge (Brentford), Hayes (Aberdeen), Forrester (Peterborough), Pilkington (Cardiff), Walters (Stoke), Hoolahan (Norwich), Keane (LA Galaxy), Long (Southampton), Murphy (Ipswich), Doyle (Colorado Rapids), Stokes (Celtic), Cox (Reading).

Belfast Telegraph