FIVE players who have represented South Yorkshire clubs in their careers will be bidding to make their mark at the European Championships.
Phil Jagielka, Glenn Whelan, Paul Green, Jon Walters and Paul McShane are looking to impress in the tournament, which is being staged jointly in Poland and Ukraine and kicks-off on Friday.
Group D consists of England, France, Sweden and Ukraine and among the players at Roy Hodgson’s disposal is former Sheffield United ace Jagielka. The 29-year-old was awarded a late call-up as a replacement for the injured Gareth Barry. Jagielka, who spent eight eventful years at Bramall Lane, has been handed the number 18 shirt and played the full 90 minutes in a warm-up match against Norway last month.
A crippling injury list has restricted Hodgson’s options. Some of the players ruled out of the competition include ex-Blades duo Gary Cahill and Kyle Walker.
As for the Republic of Ireland, they have undoubtedly been placed in the toughest of the four groups. Giovanni Trapattoni’s side have been pooled with World and European champions Spain, 2006 World Cup winners Italy and Croatia in Group C.
Former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Whelan is aiming to help Ireland through to the latter stages. Whelan, who departed Hillsborough for Stoke City four years ago, has reasons for optimism when the Irish tackle the Italians as he scored a spectacular goal against them in a World Cup qualifier back in 2009.
Another familiar face that could play a part in Ireland’s campaign is ex-Doncaster Rovers star Green. He is a free agent after leaving Derby County.
Former Barnsley loanees Walters and McShane are also in the Irish squad.