Martin O'Neill announces 37-man Ireland squad for Austria clash, friendlies

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has named a 38 man squad for next month's global fixtures against Mexico, Uruguay and Austria.

Martin O'Neill included the Corkonian in his 38-man squad for friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay, and a World Cup qualifier against Austria next month.

After that it will be the small matter of Austria in that FIFA World Cup Qualifier on the 11 of June, a game which should provide a stern examination for Ireland in their quest to make it to Russian Federation in 2018.

Ireland face Mexico in New Jersey on 1 June, before hosting Uruguay at the Aviva Stadium on 4 June.

"I wasn't expecting it".

The only real surprise is the inclusion of former Cork City and current Burnley defender Kevin Long, with Rob Elliot returning to the squad following a long-term knee injury.

"If he thinks at the end of the week "No, these games are too early", I don't have a problem. I'm shocked but really happy", added Long. I was just trying to concentrate on club football, so when I found out I was absolutely delighted.

The centre-back made his Premier League debut against Newcastle on New Years Day 2015 but suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury which kept him sidelined for the best part of a year.

The Cork City striker has been in scintillating form this season, netting 11 goals in 13 SSE Airtricity League games for the table toppers. "It's good to see he's doing well - if he continues to progress there's no reason he can't make it".

Just looking at quotes yesterday Martin [O'Neill] felt that there was still a few players in front of him in the pecking order, but I don't know when the squad size is unlimited.

Ireland now occupy second position in Group D on 11 points, level with table-toppers Serbia while sitting four ahead of Austria.

  • Rogelio Becker