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Mick McCarthy calls for fringe players to step up ahead of crucial game against Denmark

Mick McCarthy Republic of Ireland

The Green Army of Ireland have it all to play for when they face Denmark in their final game of their EURO 2020 campaign.

A win for Mick McCarthy’s side against Denmark on the 18th of November would be enough to reach next year’s tournament after their 2-0 defeat to Switzerland in Geneva earlier in the month. The loss to Switzerland meant Ireland are now without a win their last two EURO fixtures after a stalemate against Georgia followed by the loss to Switzerland. Leading bookmaker Stoixima24.net are predicting that Ireland will fail to qualify for next season’s tournament.

Based on the heavy consequences hinging on the Denmark fixture, Mick McCarthy has challenged some members of his squad to hit form in time so they can play their part in the holy grail of fixtures for the Ireland national team.

One of those such players is Burnley’s Robbie Brady. Mick McCarthy is hoping that the 27-year-old can prove his worth and force his way back into the Republic of Ireland team for November’s crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark.

Brady has been included in McCarthy’s provisional 39-man squad for the upcoming friendly against New Zealand and qualifier against Denmark but had not made the cut in McCarthy’s last two Ireland squads.

However, after returning to action with Burnley, the Ireland boss is now hoping that the 27-year-old can provide the creative spark which has been lacking for Ireland recently.

“I spoke to Robbie when we were in for the last two games and he was a bit concerned that he was out of the squad. He’d not been playing,” said McCarthy.

“He had played three minutes I believe in the league, up until that point, that’s the stat I was given. To see him come back last week and he played 70/80 minutes, then he played 20 minutes at the weekend. I’d love to have him back because he’s been one of our best players, certainly the one that can open up the door and find a good pass and he’s got a goal in him.”

Another player who also falls into that category is Bristol’s Callum O’Dowda. The 24-year-old has been one of Bristol City’s bright sparks over the course of the past couple of games in which he has started, and he has looked engaging on the flanks on many occasions.

Despite the promise, O’Dowda has struggled for starts ever since signing for City in 2016, making just 53 Championship starts in the past few seasons while appearing as a substitute in the league 41 times and being an unused substitute 56 times (Transfermarkt).

The same scenario has plagued Callum on the international scene as the 24-year-old has only managed 15 starts for the Ireland national team since making his debut in 2016 (Transfermarkt).

Mick McCarthy would be hoping these players pick form in no time and can replicate such good fortunes for the national side as well. Much hope will also be placed on emerging Brighton youngster Aaron Connolly to chip in the goals from an offensive point of view. With a low difference of +2 on the log standings (Skysports), Ireland will need a lot of goals to fully guarantee them a spot in next year’s EURO tournament.

Mick McCarthy and company would determine their fate next month when Ireland take on Denmark at home. All it takes is a win and nothing would be enough to cap the end of a good EURO qualifying campaign.