REPUBLIC OF Ireland boss, Martin O’Neill has indicated that Euro 2016 hopeful Shane Duffy could yet be on the plane to France this summer!
The 24 year-old Derry lad is expected to receive his second international cap in Ireland’s friendly against Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium tonight, and he’ll be determined to make a positive impression on the Irish boss. (Kick-off 7.45 p.m.)
He’s definitely one that you would like to think is one for the future as some of the older players drop off. But I would like to get him onto the field in some of these games.Martin O’Neill
Duffy has been in fine form for his club side, Blackburn Rovers this season and netted his third goal of the season against Brentford last weekend.
So he goes into tonight’s game with confidence, knowing he’s got limited time to force his way into O’Neill’s plans for the Euro Championships which kick-off for Ireland in Paris against Sweden on June 13th next.
The Ireland boss expects Duffy to play some part in tonight’s friendly international against the Swiss and Tuesday’s clash against Slovakia, and suggested the defender has a real shot at being selected in his 33 man squad for France.
“I’m hoping that Shane will get on the field of play here (against Switzerland),” said O’Neill. “He’s definitely one that you would like to think is one for the future as some of the older players drop off. But I would like to get him onto the field in some of these games.”
Duffy has had to patiently wait two years for another shot after making his senior international debut in a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica in a friendly in the USA in June 2014. While he may be regarded as ‘one for the future’, Ireland’s lack of options at centre-half and with Marc Wilson currently injured, it could present a window of opportunity for Duffy.
“He’s playing and scored a really decent goal,” said O’Neill of Duffy. “But that’s not his main concern. I’ve seen him a number of times, pretty much in close succession and I’ve known him for quite a while. He was with us on the American trip and I think he’s improved since then. There are parts of his game that definitely need honing - there’s no doubt about that but we’ll see.
“A couple of the centre halves have done very well for me. Ideally I would like a lot of the players to be playing reasonably regularly, if not, then I can deal with one or two but I wouldn’t want to be going in to the tournament with six or seven who haven’t played for quite a long time.”