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McCarthy back in Republic reckoning
The Crystal Palace midfielder has not played for Ireland since October 2016.
James McCarthy could make his first Republic of Ireland appearance for almost three years after being named in Mick McCarthy’s squad for next month’s clashes with Switzerland and Bulgaria.
The 28-year-old midfielder, who joined Crystal Palace from Everton this summer, has been included in a 40-man provisional party in which there are also first call-ups for Stoke City’s Nathan Collins, Doncaster Rovers midfielder Kieran Sadlier and Tottenham striker Troy Parrott.
Ireland face the Swiss in a Euro 2020 qualifier on September 5 – they currently top Group D with 10 points from their four games to date – and the Bulgarians in a friendly five days later.
Manager McCarthy told FAI TV: “Switzerland are a good side. They have been in the higher echelons of the top teams in Europe for the last number of years.”
Palace’s McCarthy last represented his county in a 3-1 World Cup qualifier victory in Moldova in October 2016 with injuries limiting to just 17 club appearances since.
The Ireland boss watched him in action for the Eagles’ Under-23s earlier this week before selecting him.
Parrott’s inclusion is also eye-catching with both Spurs and Ireland having high hopes for the 17-year-old.
The party will be whittled down before the players meet up in Dublin with the manager conscious of the amount of games to be played between now and then.
He said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen between now and the next couple of games. We’ve got Saturday games, Tuesday games, Saturday and then the Saturday before me meet up. Players could get injured before we meet up.”
The Republic are unbeaten in the group to date having recorded narrow home an away wins over Gibraltar and beaten Georgia at the Aviva Stadium as well as drawing in Denmark.
However, the fixtures get significantly more testing in the second half of the campaign with trips to Tbilisi and Geneva in October likely to have a major say in their fate.
Provisional squad: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Mark Travers (Bournemouth), Kieran O’Hara (Burton, on loan from Manchester United), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolves), Shane Duffy (Brighton), Richard Keogh (Derby), John Egan (Sheffield United), Kevin Long (Burnley), Nathan Collins (Stoke), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Greg Cunningham (Blackburn, on loan from Cardiff), Cyrus Christie (Fulham), Darragh Lenihan, Derrick Williams (both Blackburn), Ciaran Clark (Newcastle), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Glenn Whelan (Hearts), Josh Cullen (Charlton, on loan from West Ham), Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady (both Burnley), Alan Browne (Preston), James McClean (Stoke), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), James McCarthy (Crystal Palace), Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers), Alan Judge (Ipswich), Harry Arter (Fulham, on loan from Bournemouth), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Kieran Sadlier (Doncaster), Callum Robinson (Sheffield United), Scott Hogan (Stoke, on loan from Aston Villa), Shane Long, Michael Obafemi (both Southampton), David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), James Collins (Luton), Aiden O’Brien (Millwall), Troy Parrott (Tottenham), Sean Maguire (Preston).