Large Russian convoy ready to make its way from North East clubs
SAM BROTHERTON Sunderland and New Zealand
The centre-back doesn’t even have a squad number but is likely to feature in next month’s play-off against the fifth-placed South American side.
CYRUS CHRISTIE Middlesbrough and Ireland
An important part of the Republic of Ireland team, but they have it all to do in Cardiff tomorrow just to make the play-offs.
CIARAN CLARK Newcastle United and Ireland
PAUL DUMMETT Newcastle United and Wales
Dummett failed to make the cut for Euro 2016 and if Wales qualify for the World Cup, he will need a good season when he returns from a hamstring injury.
ROB ELLIOT Newcastle United and Ireland
The Magpies’ failure to sign the goalkeeper they wanted this summer has given Rob Elliot a Premier League platform to stake his claim. The problem is, it is likely to be down to others to get Ireland to Russia. England are definitely going to Russia, but Gibson is probably not. Gareth Southgate is a fan of the centre-back, who caught the eye in last season’s Premier League but will struggle to force his way in from the Championship.
LYNDEN GOOCH Sunderland and USA
Not part of the national set-up but made his debut last season, so if he can get a run of goals and games in the Championship he could stand a chance but it seems unlikely. Kone’s chances of being in Russia have nosedived since late August. He has not played in the Ivory Coast’s last three games and their 0-0 draw with Mali could leave them struggling to qualify. Only a stand-by for this week’s games. He is starting to establish himself in Sunderland’s first team but a lot of ifs stand in his way. If Serbia can finish the job by topping Group D tomorrow, Mitrovic can start making plans for Russia. Gabon qualifying is only half the battle for the midfielder, who is a controversial and unpopular in the Panthers’ squad. Delayed retirement in the hope of one last major tournament but he has watched Ireland’s last three games from the bench.
BRYAN OVIEDO Sunderland and Costa Rica
Costa Rica went into last night’s game in Panama needing only a point.
DARREN RANDOLPH Middlesbrough and Ireland
If Ireland qualify, a fit Randolph will go. If.
MATT RITCHIE Newcastle United and Scotland
Scotland have given themselves a chance but Russia is still a long way off. Having won the last of his six caps two years ago, Shelvey is a real long shot. England is crying out for creativity but his temperament is suspect. Williams will have a happy birthday if Wales can clinch a play-off spot and happier still if they win the group. Has a good chance of being a squad member in Russia. Nothing is signed and sealed yet but Yedlin is a key player.
WITH World Cup qualifying coming to an end, a host of North East-based players are still in with a chance of playing in football’s greatest tournament in Russia next summer.
Even if they stay fit, few if any Newcastle United, Middlesborough or Sunderland players can take their places for granted. For some, it will be about getting enough minutes on the pitch to justify their selection, while the Championship players will be hoping that playing in English football’s second tier does not count against them.
Here we take a look at the leading candidates who might have a chance – some more so than others – of being involved.
CHRISTIAN ATSU Newcastle United and Ghana Ghana’s 0-0 draw in Uganda yesterday has left them needing a lot of things to go there way if they are to make it.
MARTIN BRAITHWAITE Middlesbrough and Denmark The Danes could still win their group but with only one start and one substitute appearance, Boro’s £10m striker will need a few goals this season. LAMINE KONE Sunderland and Ivory Coast ADAM MATTHEWS Sunderland and Wales AIDEN McGEADY Sunderland and Ireland Hard to see him not being in the squad if Ireland qualify.
PADDY McNAIR Sunderland and Northern Ireland McNair’s return from cruciate knee ligament damage is likely to come too late for him to feature in the play-offs but if Northern Ireland can reach the World Cup without him, he has a good chance of a call-up.
ALEKSANDARA MITROVIC Newcastle United and Serbia f to M fo DIDIER NDONG Sunderland and Gabon t JOHN O’SHEA Sunderland and Ireland
BEN GIBSON Middlesbrough and England JONJO SHELVEY Newcastle United and England JONNY WILLIAMS Sunderland and Wales Matt Ritchie DEANDRE YEDLIN Newcastle United and USA