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Irish Independent
Irish Independent

Stephen Kenny reveals James McCarthy in contention for Ireland recall

Crystal Palace's James McCarthy could be set for a recall to the Ireland squad. Photo: Getty Images

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has confirmed that James McCarthy, who has not played at international level in over two years and who made himself unavailable for a spell under Mick McCarthy, is in line for recall.

Kenny also confirmed that the FAI have started the process to have Rotherham's Nigerian-born, Cork-raised attacker Chiedozie Ogbene eligible for the Republic.

"James McCarthy is available for selection again, and that's great news for Ireland. He's a really good player. Harry Arter as well, he's available for selection. Obviously James has had a very tough time with injuries, so he's getting a run at Crystal Palace," Kenny said.

"James was injured for two years, nearly. It was tough coming back. I don’t know all the details, I think he was focusing on getting back playing because it is career-threatening when you’re out that long with injuries.

"He's had a great season with Crystal Palace overall and played a lot of matches, he’s well up in the 20s now in terms of league matches. That’s been a great start for him."

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny speaking during a press conference at FAI Headquarters in Abbotstown, Dublin. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Kenny says he has been in contact with former Limerick and Cork City player Ogebene, who has helped Rotherham United win promotion to the Championship and the player is keen to declare.

"It’s one that won’t happen for September, it could take over four months to be processed. We feel as someone who has lived in Ireland that he should qualify but there’s various bureaucratic procedures involved," Kenny said.

"He has lived in Ireland since he was seven, he came on in the FAI Cup final against me at Dundalk. He did really well at Limerick and did it the hard way by going on loan.

"I went to see Trevor Clarke for Rotherham and he (Ogbene) was playing too. It was a windy day, a real physical encounter. I always thought of him as talented traditionally we’ve not had many forwards who are fast. He’ll now be playing in Championship."

But hopes of recruiting Birmingham City midfielder Dan Crowley may come to nothing due to paperwork issues. Crowley played for Ireland at U-16 level but then played for England competitively form U-17 level.

He has since expressed an interest in declaring for Ireland but because he did not have Irish citizenship when he played for England, FIFA rules could prevent him from making the switch now, as was the case when the FAI tried to get clearance for Bayern Munich teenager Ryan Johansson.

"There’s question marks over because of this new Johansson ruling. The paperwork hasn’t been processed yet. I haven’t spoken to him. It’s because he didn’t have citizenship when he played for England," Kenny said of Crowley.

He also said that young prospects Will Smallbone and Will Ferry, who have both made the first team squad at Southampton this season with Ferry (18) the most recent addition to Ralf Hassenhuttl's panel, will have to bide their time in the U-21 squad as he needs a strong panel in place for the autumn challenges.

"Southampton is a great club for playing young players. They’re really giving young players a chance, and it’s a great club to be at for young Irish players. They seem to be getting their chances, which is fantastic," he said, Kenny also keen to work again with Michael Obafemi.

"But I'm sure Will Smallbone and Will Ferry, who I really like, will be in contention for the U-21s, that would be up to Jim Crawford, of course."

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