All you need to know about the newest member of the Ireland squad

Aiden O’Brien received his first call-up to the senior squad today.

Aiden O'Brien has made the latest provisional Ireland squad.
Aiden O'Brien has made the latest provisional Ireland squad.

THERE WERE TWO first-time inclusions in the provisional Ireland squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Wales.

We assume you have already heard plenty about Scott Hogan, given that he has been consistently linked with a call-up for well over a year now.

Aiden O’Brien, however, is a less well-known player, who constitutes another option for Ireland’s forward line.

When asked about the attacker in today’s press conference, O’Neill said: “When I came into the job, I went to see Millwall a couple of times. He has made good improvements since then and become a regular since then. As they have stepped up and got promotion, he has improved his game and is worth consideration.

“The young manager in charge [Neil Harris] is very keen on him, which is good. I was speaking to him and hopefully with a bit of luck I will see him tonight against Reading. That will give me more knowledge about him and let’s see how we go.

“It’s a boost for him and it gives him a chance.”

Below is some background info on the 23-year-old attacker.

  • O’Brien is London-born, though unlike Hogan, he has been in and around the Ireland set-up for quite some time. He has been capped at U17, U19 and U21 level, featuring for the Boys in Green as far back as 2009.
  • The player signed a professional contact at Millwall just after turning 17 in 2010. Before breaking into the Lions’ first team, he had loan spells at Staines Town, Hates & Yeading United, Crawley Town, Aldershot Town and Torquay United.
  • He made his Championship debut for Millwall in the 2014-15 season (though he featured for the club in the League Cup in 2011), and scored twice in 19 appearances.
  • After the club were relegated to League One, O’Brien became a regular fixture in the first team, scoring 15 goals in 57 appearances in all competitions, as they were promoted via the play-offs last year.
  • Millwall are currently 16th in the Championship and O’Brien has registered two goals in eight appearances, scoring the winner in their 1-0 victory over table toppers Leeds. He was also sent off for a second bookable offence in the loss to Wolves earlier this month.
  • Similarly to another Irish player, Jon Walters, O’Brien is a striker who is equally comfortable playing out wide.

Source: SamPage Videos/YouTube

  • O’Brien has had long-time ambitions of making the senior Ireland squad. In a 2015 interview, he said:  “(Playing for Ireland) would be a dream… That step shouldn’t really come this early in my career. I don’t really expect it but the way I’m playing on Saturdays and Tuesdays I don’t see why I shouldn’t get a shot at it… (David) Fordey’s always talking to me about it and hopefully one day I’ll be in the mixer for it.”
  • O’Brien is a practising Christian. Asked in an interview last year whether his religious beliefs affected how he conducted himself on the pitch, he said: “Not necessarily but I will always have a quick prayer before and after the game to thank God for the situation, what he has done for me in the last few years and for what I have. I bless myself on and off the pitch before I leave.”

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Source: Millwall FC/YouTube

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Paul Fennessy

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