'James has a real chance of seeing his name in my first squad' - McCarthy impressed by League One's top scorer

The Ireland manager also revealed that he has been exchanging text messages with Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford, ahead of this week’s announcement.

James Collins of Luton Town (left) and Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford.
James Collins of Luton Town (left) and Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford.
Image: Press Association

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND manager Mick McCarthy has praised Luton Town striker James Collins just days before his first squad announcement. 

McCarthy will be in Dublin on Thursday to unveil his panel to face Gibraltar and Georgia in the opening two Euro 2020 qualifiers. 

The 60-year-old has been busy scouting players in the early stages of his second spell in charge, and visited Kenilworth Road on Saturday for the League One meeting of Luton and Rochdale. 

Former Ireland U21 striker Collins — the division’s top goalscorer — bagged his 20th League One goal of the season in injury-time to secure a 2-0 win for the table-toppers. 

“James has a real chance of seeing his name in my first squad when I reveal it at Three’s Dublin headquarters on Thursday,” McCarthy told, speaking about the ex-Aston Villa youth player.

“He is my type of player, big and aggressive and wholly committed to the cause. James can handle himself and is a handful for any defence as Rochdale will tell you.

“He’s been around the place for a few years now, he knows the game and his goal yesterday was his 20th this season. People will argue that he is playing League One but he can only play against the opposition his team are up against.

He worked his socks off all day and he hit the target with his left foot, his right foot and his head. James has a chance for the Gibraltar and Georgia squads.”

Former Cork City defender Ryan Delaney was on the opposing team, and McCarthy added: 

“I went to have a look at James Collins but I liked the look of Ryan as well. Ryan actually trained with us when Ipswich were in Ireland for pre-season a couple of years ago and he was good on a difficult day for Rochdale against the league leaders.”

McCarthy is hoping to entice ex-England U21 centre forward Patrick Bamford to the set-up, and explained that he has been in contact with the 25-year-old ahead of a sit-down. 

“We’ve exchanged text messages and Patrick is keen to meet up in the coming weeks so it is just a matter of him finding a date that works — I’ll happily meet him whenever he can do it,” said McCarthy.

Netherlands: Heerenveen vs Willem II Daniel Crowley with Willem II manager Adrie Koster. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Daniel Crowley has committed his senior international future to Ireland, having represented both the Boys in Green and England at underage level. 

The 21-year-old donned the tricolour after his club Willem II booked their place in the KNVB Cup final over the weekend — by beating AZ Alkmaar on penalties — and McCarthy will watch him take on Ajax in two months’ time. 

“Our International Department are sorting Danny’s paperwork,” he said. “Noel King brought him to my attention when I got the job and will have a look at Danny with Willem ll before I go to see him for myself when he plays against Ajax in the Dutch Cup Final in Rotterdam on 5 May.”

(Warning: Some colour language used by Crowley in the interview below) 

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McCarthy also had some praise for Everton full-back Seamus Coleman after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Merseyside rivals Liverpool. Although he has yet to reveal his captain, the Ireland boss is delighted that the Killybegs native has returned to form ahead of this month’s qualifiers.  

“It was great to see Seamus play so well against Liverpool,” said McCarthy

“It was another assured performance from Seamus in a pressurised game against a Liverpool side looking to win the title.

“Seamus is well used to the pressure of such occasions as he showed again and that is why he is captain of Everton and Ireland. His contribution to the game, both in keeping that Liverpool attack scoreless and in assisting the Everton forwards as well, was great to see so close to the start of the Euros.”

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