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O'Shea and Gibson named in Eire squad; who else is in line for international call?

John O'Shea and Darron Gibson have earned call-ups to the Ireland squad as Martin O'Neill's men face Wales in a World Cup Qualifier later this month. And two, maybe three, other Sunderland players have a chance of international nods later this week. We ponder their prospects.

Republic of Ireland v Bosnia - International Friendly Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

O'Shea and Gibson named in Irish squad

Sunderland's John O'Shea and Darron Gibson have been named in Martin O'Neill's latest provisional Eire squad. The Republic of Ireland face a huge World Cup Qualifier against Wales a week on Friday and then host Iceland for a friendly in Dublin four days later.

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League
John O'Shea in action in Sunderland's most recent match against Manchester City
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

O'Shea earned his first cap for the Republic of Ireland over fifteen years ago at the age of 20 - now some 116 games for his country later and O'Shea is likely to once again be at the heart of their defence.

The 35-year-old has played in 19 Premier League games this season as his importance to Sunderland's back-line shows no sign of abating. Injuries, suspensions, the African Cup of Nations and the inconsistency of his supposed successors - Lamine Kone, Papy Djilobodji and Jason Denayer - have seen O'Shea start each of the Black Cats' last 9 league fixtures.

The fact that Sunderland have conceded 17 goals in those games tells its own story of course.

With injuries to Martin O'Neill's first choice centre-backs, Brighton's Shane Duffy and Newcastle's Ciaran Clark - though he has been named in the provisional squad - O'Shea will become Ireland's key man at the back for the Wales clash.

It had been expected that John O'Shea would retire from international football after Euro 2016, but the loss of experienced heads such as Robbie Keane and Shay Given meant former Sunderland boss, Martin O'Neil, was keen to ensure the man he managed for fifteen months at the Stadium of Light continued for a while longer.

Meanwhile, January signing Darron Gibson has regained his place in the squad following a lengthy exile from the national set up.

Gibson hasn't featured for Ireland since May 2016. His last game was 68 minutes against Belarus in a warm up match for last year's European Championships.

Scotland v Republic of Ireland - EURO 2016 Qualifier
Darron Gibson in action for the Republic of Ireland in 2014
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

So who else might get a nod?

None of the African countries represented by Sunderland players have fixtures until the summer so that just leaves whatever European nations are in action at the end of this month.

Sebastian Larsson will find out on Wednesday whether he has earned a recall to the Sweden squad for games against Belarus and Portugal. Coach Janne Andersson was over here last month to take in some Premier League games and run the rule over his nation's footballers playing in England, one of whom was the Sunderland midfielder.

Sunderland v Manchester City - Premier League
Larsson up against David Silva last time out in the Premier League
Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Larsson has missed seven international fixtures since he underwent knee surgery after Euro 2016. His return to the Sunderland starting eleven will almost certainly see him earn a call-up and get the opportunity to play his 88th game for Sweden.

Italy v Sweden - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016
Sebastian Larsson up against Emanuele Giaccherini at Euro2016
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Elsewhere Adnan Januzaj has a chance of a nod from Belgium coach, Roberto Martinez. The Manchester United man, on loan at the Stadium of Light this season, has hovered around the fringes of his country's international set up since his debut in 2014.

Martinez was full of praise for the 22-year-old after his display in the 4-0 victory over Crystal Palace in February and Januzaj has finally found some form and an inkling of consistency in a Sunderland shirt in his last few games. He may have done enough to earn a call into the Belgian squad which will face Greece and Russia.

Korea Republic v Belgium: Group H - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
Adnan Januzaj in action for Belgium in 2014
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Januzaj may have even dropped a hint about his immediate international prospects, with this social media post on Friday. Without a game this weekend, the young winger took the opportunity to hangout with Belgium's star man, Eden Hazard.

Finally, Jason Denayer has a teeny-tiny chance of being involved with Belgium as well. The Manchester City man, also on loan at Sunderland this season, hasn't earned a full international cap since Euro2016.

His one appearance in last summer's tournament was a slightly embarrassing outing as his side lost to Wales. Denayer in particular was pulled apart as Belgium were beaten by three-goals-to-one in the quarter-finals.

Wales v Belgium - Quarter Final: UEFA Euro 2016
Jason Denayer competing for the ball with Hal Robson-Kanu at Euro2016
Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images