Five Irish Players Who Need A Move This August

kdAs all football fans know, the summer transfer window is a time of upheaval with fresh starts, new challenges and last chances for managers and players alike. However, sometimes there is a select few players that may be in need of a move to rekindle or enhance their international career.

Here we take a look at five Irish stars who all need a move before the transfer window slams shut at the end of August.

Kevin Doyle (Wolves, 53 caps, 12 goals)

Kevin Doyle was one of Ireland’s top strikers in the lead up to the World Cup 2010 playoff defeat and the fantastic qualification run to Euro 2012. However just two months prior to his trip to Poland with the Irish squad, Doyle’s club side Wolves were relegated from the English Premier League. His stuttering form and that of the club didn’t stop there as they fell further and were relegated to League One, England’s third tier.

Speculation has been rife that the former Cork City and Reading striker is on his way to Celtic to replace Gary Hooper who has left Parkhead to join Norwich City. The 29 year old had a dismal campaign last year, with just nine league goals under two managers and desperately needs a change of scenery.

Doyle has also fallen way down the pecking order of the Irish squad, so much so he has been recently omitted from selection. He now lies behind skipper Robbie Keane, former Reading team mate Shane Long , Conor Sammon and Simon Cox. That said, Doyle still has plenty of miles left on the clock and a move can only help boost the Wexford’s man career as he looks to add to his caps in green.

Keiren Westwood (Sunderland 15 caps)

The man born in Greater Manchester, who qualifies for Ireland through his Wexford grandparents, was once touted as a ready-made replacement between the sticks for the now retired Shay Given.

For a while this did materialise for Westwood, who in the meantime had sealed his dream Premier League move to Sunderland from Coventry City, but he has now been ousted by David Forde. On his club side of things, the former Man City trainee has always been in the shadows of Scot Craig Gordon and then Belgian stopper Simon Mignolet.

Mignolet has since moved on to Liverpool, but new Sunderland boss Paulo Di Canio has brought in fellow countryman Vito Mannone from Arsenal, and the big Italian looks set to be his number one this year.

This leaves Westwood with a predicament, does he stay and fight for the number one spot with his new manager’s signing, or does he look to move on in order to play some regular football, not the 9 starts he has been afforded at Sunderland in the past two seasons.


Sean St Ledger (Leicester City, 36 caps, 3 goals)

Another born across the water, St Ledger has been a big part of the Giovanni Trappatoni era. The centre back teamed up well with Richard Dunne, and seemed to continue his level of performance alongside John O’Shea in Dunne’s absence.

St Ledger ended last season on loan at Millwall as his parent club Leicester City narrowly missed out on a Championship playoff final at the hands of Watford. St Ledger had been left out at Leicester, and had previous issues with manager Nigel Pearson, ultimately the reasons why he joined Millwall.

If St Ledger is to add to his 36 caps however, he will need to find a source of first team football as quick as possible, as he has played just 36 times over two seasons at Leicester. St Ledger also holds the accolade of being Ireland’s only goalscorer at Euro 2013 but as of yet no move away from the midlands has materialised.

Stephen Ward (Wolves, 18 caps)

Ward is one of few who carved a career for himself in the League of Ireland before he made his move to Wolves in 2007, where he has played since.

Like Doyle, the Dubliner’s predicament is simple; he needs to be playing at a higher level regularly to hold off competition from others for the green jersey. A massive source of competition for Ward for the number three jersey at full back is Marc Wilson, who has had a great spell for the boys in green since his return from a broken leg.

Ward will no doubt be disappointed by Wolves plight having endured two successive relegations but for him, at 27, it is time for him to decide if he should be looking elsewhere in order to get himself back into the Ireland team.

James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic, 15 caps)

This Scottish born starlet of Irish soccer is widely expected to join up with his former Everton manager Roberto Martinez this week, and deservedly so after a wonderful campaign.

Everton have ramped up their interest in recent times and a £15 million bid is believed to be what it will take to get the midfielder to the blue half of Merseyside. In a green jersey, James has been sensational in recent times, really revelling in his holding/creative role in midfield alongside Glenn Whelan.

McCarthy does need a move however as despite an FA Cup winners medal last season, the 22 year old and Wigan were relegated to the Championship, and the midfielder is without doubt Premier League quality. The youngster is also fairly experienced with over 200 senior appearances for Hamilton and Wigan, although he did miss out on Euro 2012 as his father was ill.

There are two more players who will be looking for a club this August, and they are free agents Keith Fahey, formerly of St Patricks Athletic and Birmingham City, as well as old favourite Stephen Hunt, who at 31 is looking for one last shot at international football. Some, like Doyle and McCarthy may be closer to moves, but others like Stephen Ward and Keiren Westwood have big decisions to make. One thing is for certain for all players, a move is probably what they need to retain any hope of a starting spot for the Boys in Green.


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