Nathan Collins is out of the Republic of Ireland’s final match of the year, against New Zealand at the Aviva stadium tomorrow, after sustaining an ankle ligament injury in the closing stages of Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the Netherlands in Amsterdam.
However, Ireland manager Stephen Kenny hopes that Evan Ferguson can shake off recent back and hamstring issues to feature against the All Whites.
“We’ll see today but I think Evan is basically okay,” said Kenny. “He seems to be okay and will be included in the squad.”
Kenny highlighted heavy defeats sustained under previous Ireland managers Martin O’Neill, Mick McCarthy and Steve Staunton, when asked how he intends to motivate his squad in the wake of a European Championships campaign when Ireland lost all six matches to seeded nations – France, the Netherlands and Greece – scoring only two goals and conceding 10.
“Listen, we played Holland the other night, one of the best teams in Europe. People will have their own opinions on it, but I thought it was a good game of football,” Kenny said.
“No question, Holland were the better team. We fought to the end of that game, we didn’t create enough, we know that, and we defended for our lives when we needed to.
“It wasn’t like we lost 4-1 to Wales or got hammered in Cyprus or Macedonia the other night, it was a tight game in Holland that we lost 1-0 and deserved to lose. It was one of those games, I think a bit of perspective on that, you know?”
In 2018 O’Neill’s Irish side lost 4-1 to Wales in Cardiff, in 2016 Staunton’s Ireland lost 5-2 to Cyprus in Nicosia and in April 1997 McCarthy’s team lost 3-2 to Macedonia in Skopje.