Sheffield Wednesday: Keiren Westwood battling for Republic of Ireland start
Keiren Westwood will be hoping to win his 19th cap for the Republic of Ireland in their European Championship opener against Sweden today.
The Owls ace is battling Darren Randolph, who has been first-choice goalkeeper in recent matches, and Shay Given for the number one jersey in the Group E clash.
Westwood’s last outing for his country came in their goalless draw with England a year ago.
However, the 31-year-old finished the regular season strongly, producing two superb performances in Wednesday’s play-off clashes against Brighton Hove Albion and Hull City last month.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference yesterday, Republic boss Martin O’Neill said: “I have a team in mind, but I don’t see any harm in deliberating on certain things.
“Robbie Keane and Jon Walters were carrying injuries when I was picking the 23, but they’re fine now. So I’ll just take that extra time to think about things when it comes to finalising the 11.”
Today’s meeting, at the Stade de France, will be the first time the Republic and Sweden have faced each other in a major tournament.
O’Neill said: “We’re raring to go. We are looking forward to it immensely. It’s terrific to be involved. It’s been a long wait since we qualified. We deserve to be here. ”
After taking on the Swedes, the Republic face Belgium in Bordeaux on June 18 before going head-to-head with Italy in Lille four days later.