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Charlton Connections at EURO 2016

Even for those whose interest in international football is minimal, or would sooner have their face used as a dart board than show appreciation to any nation other than their own, you could not help but feel a sense of warmth this weekend as countries who had grown used to failure celebrated their qualification for EURO 2016.

Northern Ireland securing a place at a major tournament after a 30-year absence, Wales qualifying for their first in 58 years, and Albania reaching their first ever. That not to ignore the achievements of international tournament debutants Iceland, whose place in France was booked before this round of fixtures.

Making the European Championships a 24-team tournament may not been universally embraced, but it has certainly provided a wonderful opportunity to those nations seemingly in an unbreakable cycle of failure.

And so too has it increased the amount of former and current Charlton players who will be representing their country this summer.

From the certainties who, without injury, will undoubtedly get game time in France, to the outside chances who will need to make a real impression throughout the remainder of the domestic season in order to get on the flight, there could be a sizeable number of players with Charlton connections at Euro 2016.

The Likely Lads

Johann Berg Gudmundsson – Iceland

Charlton’s main creative influence is also a key figure in the Iceland side, playing in eight of his country’s 10 qualifiers, and will have the opportunity to impress in France during the summer.

Although hopefully not impress to such an extent that he is lured away from SE7. From a selfish perspective, a repeat of his hat-trick against Switzerland in 2013, three of his five goals scored in 41 international appearances, probably wouldn’t be ideal.

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Rurik Gislason – Iceland

Winger Gislason, once highly rated in SE7, may have failed to make an appearance for the Addicks after arriving from Handknattleiksfelag Kopavogs (isn’t that pleasing on the eye?) as a 17-year-old, but he has made himself a regular fixture in Iceland squads.

A success in Danish domestic football, having briefly played with Igor Vetokele at Copenhagen, Gislason moved to FC Nurnberg in the summer, and will be looking to force his way into his nation’s starting XI while playing in the German second tier.

The 27-year-old winger, who has 37 caps, made just five substitute appearances during qualification, scoring in the 3-0 win over Latvia.

Jonjo Shelvey – England

Those of us who saw Shelvey’s first appearances for Charlton as a 15-year-old and immediately predicted future international caps are now being vindicated.

The playmaker, although temporarily dropped by the Swans last season after Garry Monk questioned his attitude, has been superb for Swansea since joining the Welsh side in 2013, with his work on and off-the-ball impressing many.

And Roy Hodgson appears an admirer, handing him three caps during England’s perfect qualification campaign.

Shelvey, however, will face competition to keep his place in the squad once the likes of Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson return from injury. An average performance against Lithuania hardly helping his cause.

Simon Church – Wales

Only injury has kept the tireless, if relatively goalless, forward out of the Welsh squad in recent years, with Church at least on the bench in nine of Wales’ ten qualifiers.

In fact, the 26-year-old made seven appearances as Chris Coleman’s side qualified for France. A useful asset to the Welsh, despite his struggles at Charlton, with the side’s unity celebrated.

Regular first team football at MK Dons should be enough to see him keep his place in the squad for EURO 2016, but faces competition from Walsall’s more prolific forward Tom Bradshaw.

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The Possibles

Morgan Fox – Wales

On standby for the two most recent Welsh squads, which included a call-up to the bench for his country’s trip to Israel, Fox is clearly in Coleman’s plans.

And given the left-back’s impressive improvement over the past year, you wouldn’t put it beyond him to earn a place in the final squad that travels to France.

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Stephan Andersen – Denmark

The goalkeeper, who did little wrong in his 18 appearances for the Addicks, has been a regular member of the Denmark squad since the qualification period for the 2010 World Cup, and was his country’s first choice at EURO 2012.

But Andersen, who now plays for Copenhagen, has had to settle for a place on the bench behind Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel during EURO 2016 qualification.

And while the 33-year-old is likely to be in Denmark’s squad, they must first secure their place in France. The Danes in the play-offs.

Darren Randolph – ROI

It’s a similar story for Randolph, who replaced Shay Given during Ireland’s win over Germany and then started in the costly defeat to Poland.

The Charlton academy graduate, and West Ham number two, is likely to travel to France should they make it through the play-offs, and compete with the currently injured Keiren Westwood and Given for the number one spot.   

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Harry Arter – ROI

Another Charlton academy graduate, Arter’s impressive performances for Bournemouth last season earned him his first international cap in the goalless draw with England.

And while Arter has missed the start of this season through injury, replicating his Championship form in the Premier League once fit will surely be enough for him to earn a trip to France should his nation qualify.

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The Outside Chances

Joe Gomez – England

Realistically, this summer’s tournament will come too soon for 18-year-old Gomez, but his impressive start to life at Liverpool after moving from Charlton in the summer means a call-up cannot be completely ruled out.

But with a number of established internationals ahead of him in the pecking order, at centre-back and in both full-back positions, Gomez may have to wait until the 2018 World Cup to feature in an international tournament.

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Carl Jenkinson – England

The names of Jenkinson and fellow West Ham full-back Aaron Cresswell are regularly mentioned, mostly by fans of the Hammers, whenever an England squad is set to be announced.

And while the Charlton academy graduate is certainly in the pool of players who can consider themselves on the radar of Hodgson, there’s probably a few too many right-backs ahead of him for Jenkinson to get a call-up.

Mikhail Kennedy – Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland used a player from Luton Town (Paddy McCourt), Fleetwood Town (Conor McLaughlin) and Ross County (Liam Boyce) during their successful qualification campaign, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that 19-year-old Kennedy could receive a call-up if he continues to get opportunities at Championship level.

The winger-cum-forward, who currently plays for his country’s U21 side, has not looked out of his depth so far in a Charlton shirt, but realistically remains someway of full international honours.

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Rob Elliot – ROI

Elliot, who has three caps for his country, was called up to the Republic of Ireland squad as cover following Given’s injury against Germany.

And with Tim Krul and Karl Darlow injured at Newcastle, the former Addick has a chance to impress, possibly dislodging Randolph, who he came through the Charlton academy with, from any potential squad that travels to France.

Stephen Henderson – ROI

Another option for Ireland, should they be short of a goalkeeper, is the current Charlton number one.

The excellent shot stopper, who has been missed while injured this season, is certainly of a similar standard to those who receive regular call-ups to the Ireland squad.

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Goncalo Brandao – Portugal

Defender Brandao spent a year on loan at the Addicks as a 19-year-old without making a first team appearance, but is a regular for Portuguese top flight and Europa League side Belenenses.

And while his two caps for his country came in 2009, impressive performances for his club side, especially in European competition, could earn him an unlikely call-up for the qualified Portugal.

Yann Kermorgant – France

Take your logic elsewhere. When Kermorgant gets his chance to play for Bournemouth, his goals and overall performances in the Premier League will get him in the France squad. Obviously.

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