James McCarthy has been included in the Republic of Ireland squad for next month’s World Cup play-off against Denmark.
The 26-year-old midfielder played his first football of the season in Everton’s 2-1 Carabao Cup defeat at Chelsea on Wednesday evening after finally shaking off the knee injury he sustained in pre-season.
He has been named in an initial 34-man party for the two-legged play-off having met up with the squad last month, but played no part in the victories over Moldova and Wales which clinched second spot in Group D.
McCarthy’s fitness or otherwise was the source of tension between international boss Martin O’Neill and club manager Ronald Koeman, who was sacked earlier this week, for much of the Dutchman’s time at Goodison Park.
There is no place in the squad for Burnley striker Jonathan Walters as he too recovers from a knee problem, although O’Neill has not yet closed the door on him for the two games.
Skipper Seamus Coleman is also missing despite closing in on a return from an horrendous double leg fracture which has sidelined him since March.
Striker Shane Long is included after overcoming the hip injury which kept him out of the 1-0 victory in Wales last month, as is David Meyler, who is suspended for the first leg after being booked in Cardiff.
Ireland head for Copenhagen on Saturday, November 11 with the reverse fixture taking place at the Aviva Stadium three days later.