Sammie Szmodics. Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Debut for Szmodics and starts for Kelleher and Ferguson in Irish team to face Belgium

Belgium start without several recognisable stars.

CAOIMHÍN KELLEHER, EVAN Ferguson and Sammie Szmodics all start for Ireland against Belgium in today’s international friendly. 

The selection marks Szmodics Irish debut, and is a reward for his outstanding form in the Championship, where he is top scorer with 21 goals in a struggling Blackburn squad. 

Kelleher is rewarded for his impressive performances in place of Alisson at Liverpool. 

It looks likely to be a back three for Ireland, with all of Nathan Collins, Andrew Omobamidele, and Dara O’Shea picked. If that’s the case, Seamus Coleman and Robbie Brady are the likely wing-backs, with Will Smallbone and Josh Cullen in midfield. 

That would leave Szmodics and Chiedozie Ogbene playing in support of Ferguson. 


Belgium, meanwhile, are without Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, and Thibaut Courtois through injury. Manchester City’s Jeremy Doku is on the bench, with Arsenal’s Leandro Trossard starting alongside Lois Openda of Leipzig and Johan Bakayoko of PSV in attack. 


The game at the Aviva Stadium kicks off at 5pm, and is live on Virgin Media Two. 

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