Sheffield United: Ireland's show of faith in Enda Stevens as Mick McCarthy drops huge John Egan hint
Enda Stevens is among three Sheffield United players named in the latest Republic of Ireland squad, despite being ruled-out of their forthcoming visit to Georgia through suspension.
The wing-back's inclusion in the 24 strong party - he will be available to face Switzerland later this month - is a measure of manager Mick McCarthy's confidence in both his ability on the pitch and impact behind the scenes.
United's John Egan and Callum Robinson have also been called-up, but their Bramall Lane team mate David McGoldrick misses out due to injury.
Ireland, who travel to Tblisi on October 12, are in pole position to qualify for next year's finals after winning three and drawing two of their opening five Group D games.
Egan appears almost certain to start against Vladimír Weiss's side, with Derby County's Richard Keogh expected to miss the remainder of the season following his involvement in a well-publicised controversy last week. The centre-half badly damaged a knee after travelling in a car, reportedly being driven by fellow County player Tom Lawrence, which smashed into a lampost. Lawrence and Mason Bennett, were both arrested for drink driving at the scene.
Stevens, aged 29, has been one of United's stand-out performers in the Premier League so far this term while Egan delivered a superb display during the 2-0 victory over Everton last month. Together with Robinson, a summer signing from Preston North End, they started Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Liverpool which saw Chris Wilder's men push the reigning European champions all the way before a goalkeeping error helped gift the visitors a narrow win.
"I won’t even start thinking about the team for that game (Georgia) until the players turn up at the hotel on Sunday and I see who we have available," McCarthy said, before name-checking Egan. "We have injuries and suspensions and I know that better than anyone. But there's nothing I can do about them. It happens in football.
"That's why we changed almost the entire team for the Bulgaria game last month and look how well the players who came in like Josh, Alan Browne, John Egan and Kevin Long did. They put their hands up for selection and gave me something to think about."
Ireland visit Switzerland three days after their trip to the Georgian capital.