England vs Republic of Ireland: James McCarthy out due to 'family reasons'

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny already without forwards Callum Robinson and Aaron Connolly for friendly against England; both sides at Wembley aiming to secure victory for first time in fixture since 1980s.

James McCarthy
Image: James McCarthy will miss Republic of Ireland's friendly against England

James McCarthy will miss Republic of Ireland's friendly international with England due to 'family reasons'.

The Crystal Palace midfielder - who turned 30 on Thursday - was named in Stephen Kenny's squad for Thursday night's game at Wembley but will not take part.

McCarthy started the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final defeat in Slovakia last month that saw the Republic eliminated on penalties after the game in Bratislava had finished 0-0.

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Highlights of the Euro 2020 qualifying play-off match between Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland

He did not feature in the subsequent Nations League draw against Wales or the 1-0 defeat to Finland in the same competition after suffering a muscle injury while on international duty but came on as a second-half substitute in Palace's 4-1 win against Leeds in the Premier League on Saturday.

West Brom forward Callum Robinson had already been forced to withdraw after testing positive for coronavirus, while Brighton striker Aaron Connolly will miss the Republic's three games during the international break after picking up an unspecified injury in training.

Will England or Ireland finally taste victory?

England host the Republic of Ireland in a friendly at Wembley on Thursday as both sides look to secure a victory for the first time in the fixture since the 1980s.

After a build-up plagued by injuries and off-the-field headlines, the focus turns to matters on the pitch as Gareth Southgate's side hope for a morale-boosting victory as they prepare for Sunday's Nations League showdown with leaders Belgium.

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Republic of Ireland have filled in for original opponents New Zealand, who were forced to withdraw from the fixture due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the amended friendly presents boss Stephen Kenny with the opportunity to claim his first victory since taking charge.

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Kenny won't dwell on Grealish, Rice and what might have been

Stephen Kenny has stressed the Republic of Ireland cannot dwell upon Declan Rice and Jack Grealish switching allegiance to England, with the focus firmly on the future.

West Ham midfielder Rice and Aston Villa captain Grealish are in the England squad for Thursday's friendly against Ireland at Wembley.

Rice made three senior friendly appearances for the Irish before making the switch, while Grealish played up to U21 level.

Finland 0-1 Rep of ireland 4:59
Highlights from the UEFA Nations League Group B4 match between Finland and Republic of Ireland

Asked with regard to the pair if he ever found himself wondering what might have been, boss Kenny said: "Not really. I think obviously they are both very good players. I'm very happy with some of the players we have. We have a lot of talent coming through.

"I think we have a lot of good players, a lot of talent, and we're not far away from being a very good side.

"I can't worry about other players that could have been part of the equation. We can't really dwell on that from our point of view. We have to look forward and see what players are coming through and what other players emerge."

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