Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny insists Robbie Brady’s international exile has been ended “on absolute merit”.
Preston defender Brady, 30, has been recalled to Kenny’s 24-man squad having last appeared for his country 18 months ago.
The Republic play Scotland at Hampden Park on Saturday, September 24 and then Armenia at the Aviva Stadium the following Tuesday in their final two Nations League games.
Kenny told a press conference: “It’s 18 months out of the squad for Robbie. He’s one of our better players for sure, all things being equal.
“But things haven’t been equal for him because his body has let him down frequently and that’s been most unfortunate.
“He’s in on absolute merit. He’s not in because we do admire him as a player and the talent he possesses, but he’s in because of his performances for Preston.”
Former Hull, Norwich and Burnley winger Brady, who now operates as a wing-back, joined Preston on a free transfer from Bournemouth in July.
𝗦𝗤𝗨𝗔𝗗 𝗔𝗡𝗡𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗖𝗘𝗗 | 𝗠𝗡𝗧— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) September 15, 2022
He last appeared for the Republic against Qatar in March 2021 and is hoping to win his 58th cap against Scotland.
“He offers you different things for a left wing-back,” Kenny said. “He’s a very creative passer, quality crossing and he just sees things so early.
“He’s played well in that position to date this season. I’ve seen Preston a few times this season obviously and I’ve enjoyed his performances.”
Andrew Omobamidele has also been recalled after a lengthy injury lay-off and Cardiff winger Callum O’Dowda is back in the squad.
Norwich defender Omobamidele missed the second half of last season due to a back fracture, while O’Dowda is another player rewarded for impressive form in the Sky Bet Championship after recovering from hamstring trouble.
Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher has not been included. He aggravated an injury in pre-season that he initially sustained during the Republic’s 1-1 Nations League draw against Ukraine in June.
Jurgen Klopp had been critical of the Republic’s medical set-up after losing Kelleher for the start of the Premier League season, but Kenny reiterated none of his staff were to blame.
He said: “If Caoimhin tweaks something in the game against Ukraine, it was not evident from the player’s performance, he performed very well in the game.
“Obviously he trained with Liverpool when he went back for pre-season and got injured, but certainly it was something we weren’t aware of.”
Kenny added: “I haven’t spoken to Jurgen Klopp, but the medical teams have been in constant contact.
“But the good thing is he’s making good progress and should be back soon and back for the next (Republic) camp for sure.”
Norwich froward Adam Idah (knee) and Sheffield United defender Enda Stevens (calf) are also sidelined through injury.
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