David McGoldrick is in the peak of his career, says Ireland manager Stephen Kenny
Sheffield United forward "important" to Ireland cause, says Kenny ahead of start of UEFA Nations League campaign in September
By Brian Barry
Last Updated: 19/06/20 2:33pm
Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has suggested that David McGoldrick is the man to lead the line for the Boys in Green in the coming months.
The 32-year-old recently signed a new contract with Sheffield United, having aided the Blades in their impressive return to the Premier League.
And with a wave of forward talent bursting through, Kenny feels McGoldrick could play a key role in the coming months. Next up for Ireland is the start of the UEFA Nations League in September, before the crucial Euro 2020 play-off away to Slovakia the following month.
"David's international career has come late for him. He really is in the peak of his career now," he said in an interview with FAI TV.
"He's the focal point in a team competing for a Champions League place. People say he's not a prolific scorer, but he got 15 goals getting Sheffield United promoted [last season]. I think he's a creator of goals.
"We've got a lot of good young strikers coming through, and he'll complement them I feel, with his attributes; his technical ability, his tactical awareness, and his vision.
"He can have a big impact on their careers. So yes, David is very important to us."
But the Sheffield United frontman isn't the only forward who has been impressing the international side's new manager.
"Shane Long, I'd seen Shane play not long before the lockdown for Southampton," said the ex-Dundalk boss. "He scored against Tottenham in the new stadium, and he scored a few goals in that period.
"Having that element of competition is important. We need competition in all areas for sure."
'McCarthy is an exceptional talent'
Kenny also ran the rule over his midfield options, highlighting three players who could break into the squad in the coming months, as he prepares for his first game away to Bulgaria on September 4.
"The squad is there on merit, but it's great to have players there for selection and increase the competition," he mused.
"I think James McCarthy is an exceptional talent. And the fact that he's played 22 games for Crystal Palace this year, we want to increase our options, and hopefully he'll get a run of games without injury, that would be great for him.
"Harry Arter hasn't featured in the campaign, just early on away to Gibraltar he played a few minutes. But Harry's been in the system since U16s with Ireland. Certainly he's having a good season with Fulham, and we'll see how they go, whether they get promoted or not.
"Jayson Molumby captained the U21s, and he's trying to get Milwall promoted at the moment. So he's in the process of that.
"I think it's good to increase our options, and it's good to have competition. Competition drives people to be even better, and I think that's very important.
"To have that competition is exactly what we want."