Sheehan Aims For Welsh Fire As Quartet Called Up

Josh Sheehan Wales September 2023

Josh Sheehan believes Wales can keep their Euro 24 qualifying hopes alive after being one of four Wanderers’ players called up for international duty.

Sheehan is named in a 26-man Wales squad for their crucial qualifier against Croatia, while Whites’ leading scorer Dion Charles is joined in the Northern Ireland squad by Eoin Toal for their home double-header.

Toal was a late call-up for his country last time around but will be pushing for a possible first cap after retaining his place in Michael O'Neill's squad on the back of a return to fitness and top form in Wanderers’ starting line-up.

Northern Ireland are struggling to reach the Euro finals in Germany next summer but will be hoping to lay a marker down for the future in qualifiers against San Marino and Slovenia at Windsor Park on 14th and 17th October.

A win in Latvia last month has revived Wales’ hopes in Group D, where they trail both Croatia and Turkey by three points but with both still to face at home.

Dion Charles Northern Ireland stock

Croatia are first up in Cardiff on Sunday, 15th October – following a friendly against Gibraltar in Wrexham – and Sheehan hopes to make home advantage count to take the fight into November's final round of qualifiers.

“We’ve got home games and if anyone has been to a packed-out Wales game at home then you know what the atmosphere is like. So, any home game we, we’re always confident,” said the midfielder, whose impressive early-season form continued with Wanderers’ mid-week winner over Stevenage.

Sheehan, who won his fifth full cap last month, is joined in Robert Page’s squad by former Wanderers’ loanee Owen Beck, who will then link up with Wales’ U21s.

Zac Ashworth is named again in the U21s squad for a Euro qualifier away to the Czech Republic after the on-loan Whites’ defender picked up an injury in training ahead of a Wales' win in Lithuania last month.

Eoin Toal ball

First, the four are all set to be involved as Wanderers aim to go into the international break on the back of a third successive league win when they face Carlisle United on Saturday.

Whites' boss Ian Evatt then hopes they get the chance to add to their caps and defender Toal gets a first taste of full international football.

“I just hope they get an opportunity," said Evatt. "It's tough for these lads to sacrifice rest and go away with these international teams but they have aspirations of playing for their country and rightly so.

“It's a fantastic achievement to do that. I just hope they get opportunities and Eoin in particular. He's been waiting patiently to get an opportunity to play for Ireland and I know he won't let them down, so fingers crossed he gets that chance.”

The international calls mean Wanderers’ scheduled League One tie at Barnsley on Saturday 14th October has been postponed.

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