Friday 18 January 2019

Horgan on the brink of remarkable debut cap

(l-r) Daryl Horgan pictured in training with Kevin Doyle. Pic: Sportsfile
(l-r) Daryl Horgan pictured in training with Kevin Doyle. Pic: Sportsfile

After a season of seasons at club level and still to come with Dundalk, Daryl Horgan is on the brink of a truly amazing senior international debut against Austria.

Roy Keane's concerns about James McClean's sore back seem serious enough for Martin O'Neill to have already made the mental adjustment of planning for Vienna without him.

In the meantime, Horgan can dare to dream.

With Stephen Ward out, his cover Cyrus Christie also in dry dock and O'Neill's options on the left side thinning by the day, Horgan has a real chance of playing some part in the game, maybe even as a starter. Would that be too big a step-up?

"We keep saying, they (Horgan and Andy Boyle) are in the squad on merit," said Roy Keane. "They are not here thinking that deep down, we're looking at a friendly in a couple of months. The reality is we're looking at the next game.

"They believe they will have a chance of starting and why not? They are playing against really good players in Europe.

"I think the big problem going over the years with League of Ireland players is the question over fitness but not with these boys and other lads in the LOI, not just the Dundalk boys.

"That's a big hurdle they've got over in the last couple of years," said Keane.

"They seem like really decent lads and we're delighted to have them on board. It just adds to the squad.

"It brings different energy to the group sometimes when you get League of Ireland lads or young players into the group and it's good," added the Ireland No. 2.

Another player on the brink of a breakthrough is Harry Arter who is odds on to slot in instead of the injured James McCarthy. Keane believes he can cope with the change in pace comfortably.

"We like Harry. I think he's been unlucky with us with the knocks. From our point of view, he's playing week-in week-out in the Premier League, he's improving, he is doing well. We're delighted," Keane said.

"We'll have a few days training with him and if Harry has to start on Saturday with I'm sure he wouldn't let us down.

"He has got qualities but I'm sure Harry would be the first to say he has areas he needs to improve in as well. I'm always quite happy to tell the players the areas they need to improve on," laughed Keane.

"If you've got half a brain and you're playing week in week out in the Premier League, you will get better. You have to be a real clown not to advance as a player if you're surrounded by very good players.

"Bournemouth have some very good players. So unless he goes off the rails, he'll be a good player for Ireland for the next few years.

"He's looking to establish himself with Ireland. I think he's probably frustrated that he hasn't got a run but that sometimes happened with players.

"Hopefully Harry will have a nice few days training with us and if he's called upon, he certainly wouldn't let us down."

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