Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill hated playing against Everton when he was in charge at Sunderland. He hasn't carried his bias to his next job though, as he has picked a few Blues in his squad for Ireland's end of season friendlies. On tap for the Irish are Turkey at the Aviva Stadium on May 25, Italy at Fulham’s Craven Cottage on May 31, Costa Rica in Philadelphia on June 6 and Portugal in New Jersey on June 10.
Everton Player of the Year Seamus Coleman is in the side, as is youngster Shane Duffy. Also selected is winger Aiden McGeady. James McCarthy misses out on a chance to play with an ankle injury, while fellow midfielder Darron Gibson is also left out as he continues his long road back to fitness from an injury.
Fans will be partly glad to see McCarthy not play. While he will be missing out on a chance to pit his skills against some of the best sides globally as they warm up for the World Cup, he has had a long season for Everton and could use with the time to recuperate ahead of what promises to be a grueling season in 2014-15 after the Blues qualified for the Europa League.
Similarly for Gibson, a summer's recuperation added to his already long layoff can only help. We might not have the luxury of a player like Gareth Barry next season, and another injury-plagued year for Gibson would damage the team's chances of making a ripple domestically and in Europe.
Coleman is a legitimate star in his own right, and while it might be impossible to leave him on the bench for Ireland, he will have some time once the World Cup starts to get a break.
Two Everton players who could definitely used the exposure though are McGeady and Duffy. McGeady came in a lot on spot duty and while he has been good, we would like to see him playing more consistently for the side. Duffy is a youngster who will be pushing for a spot in the senior side, and needs all the playing time he can get. Fellow young defenders Luke Garbutt and Tyias Browning have been making all the headlines and Duffy needs to ensure he doesn't get forgotten in the melee.
What are your thoughts on the Irish team selection?