Uncapped duo Nathan Collins and Will Keane showed up for international duty today ahead of Saturday’s World Cup qualifier in Azerbaijan, as Stephen Kenny is hoping his injury issues are over.
ith a team already missing injured defenders Séamus Coleman and Dara O’Shea, as well as the two suspended Alan Browne and Jayson Molumby, Kenny needed good health, his defense in particular.
Matt Doherty, Cyrus Christie and Andrew Omobamidele were kept on the bench by their clubs over the weekend, but it was encouraging for Kenny to see Shane Duffy, John Egan, Enda Stevens, Ryan Manning and James McClean all start as Burnley Collins man made his Premier League debut.
An injury to Ben Mee opened the door for Collins and he was proud of his role in a clean sheet as the Clarets drew 0-0 with a Norwich City side who allowed Adam Idah just two minutes replacing.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity and I’m really happy with the way I played – had to take it with both hands and I feel like I did. I’m delighted – I’ve waited a long time and feel like I’ve done well, ”said Collins as he considered a possible senior debut, after missing Ireland’s triple in September in due to injury.
“It’s always a dream to play for Ireland and always an honor so I’m delighted. It’s the game – it happens and you hurt yourself.
Of the seven forwards named in Kenny’s squad, Wigan Keane’s man was the only one to score for his club, although Daryl Horgan received a standing ovation for his role in Wycombe’s 4-3 win over Morecambe. Midfielder Jeff Hendrick played as a substitute for an hour in Newcastle’s loss to Wolves while Josh Cullen came out unscathed as Anderlecht drew 1-1 with Brugge.