This is a good question, and more importantly from an Irish fans perspective it’s a hard question to answer. We’ve always had players in the PL, but often times they were playing sporadically, that’s not the case now with Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, Jonathan Walters, Robbie Brady, Wes Hoolahan and Shane Long all regulars for their clubs, and more than likely all starters for the Euro’s. And let’s not forget Robbie Elliot, John O’Shea and Glenn Whelan. That’s 9 players, with Elliot the only one that doesn’t get regular game time for Ireland.
At the start of the PL season in August we didn’t think we’d make the Euro’s, most of our players would be in and out of their club sides, and the massive increases of money going into the Pl would only make that worse…but that hasn’t happened, even with all the extra tv and sponsorship money coming next season, there are market rumors that Binary Uno, which is a famous trading broker, is in negotiations with one of the teams for sponsorship contract for the 2017-2018 season.
So the fun bit is trying to figure out which is in the best form. Great!!
Seamus Coleman: used to be our main stand out performer, but due to Martinez’s attack but forget to defend policy, Everton are languishing mid table and conceding far too many goals, that said Seamus is playing well, but the goals and assists that made him the best right back in England for a while mean he’s surprisingly out of the running from an Irish perspective. Disappointing by the high standard he has set.
James McCarthy: Like Coleman is suffering a little bit from Everton’s lack of defensive nouse, and he has also been injured a lot. Has played a few games recently and is returning to form. Expect him to be at his best come the end of the season, which is good for the Euro’s at the end of it. Patchy
Jonathan Walters: Not guaranteed to start all the games, but having lost his place regained it and is now an integral squad player (remember Stoke were close to selling him recently). Total commitment and pitches in with the odd goal. With Stoke improving so much this season, it says a lot about Walters character that there is no chance Stoke will be selling him anytime soon. Rock solid.
Robbie Brady: One of the stand out performers for Norwich in a difficult season, which will probably end in relegation, he has goals, assists and most often from playing at left back. Excellent.
Wes Hoolahan: A great start to the season where at one point he had the most assist, but as Norwch’s season has gotten worse Hoolahan’s form has dipped slightly too, that said there has been the odd goal and assist. Good season.
Shane Long: Could this be the period he finally nails down a regular starting place at Southampton? When Southampton were going through a poor patch of form, Long was put up front and results starting to improve, and he was playing brilliantly. Never one for scoring goals but he was creating chances for his team mates, getting the odd goal and assist.
John O’Shea and Glenn Whelan: These guys always play and always get a 6/10, dependable stalwarts for their teams with loads of experience. Unspectacular and solid.
Robbie Elliot: Newcastle have been rubbish all season and with Tim Krul injured, Elliot has stepped into the breach and been their best player. Without him, they could already be certainties for relegation. So the one player that might not even be in the squad for the Euro’s has along with Robbie Brady, and Shane Long has been our best players in the PL. Ironic.
pics courtesy of www.awaythelads.com