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Irish eyes on new Premier League season

 

Irish player most likely to shine

Perhaps a little controversial with this one given that he has not played for Ireland since the ‘granny gate’ affair in 2007, but I think Stephen Ireland will flourish under the guidance of new Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert.

The former Celtic player got the best out of another Irishman Wes Hoolahan when at Norwich and given that Ireland is also a playmaker who likes to operate just off the strikers I’m predicting goals and assists galore and, who knows, maybe a return to the international scene.

 

Irish player under most pressure to perform

James McCarthy will finally be given the opportunity to secure a starting spot in the centre of midfield so long as he avoids injury ahead of the Serbia friendly and the qualifier with Kazakhstan.

The midfield partnership of Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews has been criticised for not having enough flair so McCarthy will be under pressure to create from the centre of midfield.

 

Irish player most likely to earn a transfer to a Champions League club

If James McClean can follow up his superb debut season with Sunderland this time round there is every chance that the big hitters will start to circulate.

Improving on his five goals from last season and becoming a regular in the Ireland team will increase his chances of getting a chairman to part with his cash.

 

Irish manager who will finish highest

Brendan Rodgers will be under pressure to have Liverpool challenging for a Champions League place following his summer switch from Swansea. Implementing his methods on a new group of players is no easy task but, given the players in the squad, the Carnlough native should end up top Irish manager in the Premier League, although there is no guarantee he will earn a top-four finish.

 

Irish manager who will finish lowest

Chris Hughton faces a difficult task at Carrow Road. The dreaded second-season syndrome which sees so many teams relegated after a positive first season in the top flight is something he will be looking to avoid but with the league so tough he will need to get off to a strong start.

 

Irish youngster set to make breakthrough

Robbie Brady has long been talked about as a player with potential and this is the season where he looks set to start fulfilling it. Just 20, the Dubliner who had a successful loan spell with Hull City last season could get his chance at left back should Patrice Evra pick up an injury.

 

Irish player most likely to make the headlines

Robbie Keane. With a glamorous wife and living in LA the Dubliner is as likely to be on the front pages as he is the back. The possibility of losing his starting place in the Irish team is sure to take up plenty of column inches and of course there is likely to be some speculation about a loan move in January.

 

Irish player most likely to spend time on the injury table

Sadly Shay Given and the word injured has become far too common over recent seasons. Clearly not fully fit at Euro 2012, the Donegal man faces a battle to keep hold of the No 1 jersey for both club and country.

 

Irish player most likely to fall out with Giovanni Trapattoni

Should the Italian continue to overlook Stephen Hunt I don’t imagine the Waterford man will keep a dignified silence for too long. Having not featured at all in Poland he will surely want to make a point about that at some stage.

 

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