Hendrick set for 50th international cap
Jeff Hendrick looks set to win his 50th cap for the Republic of Ireland and he is not the only surprise name to boast such an impressive international career.
The Burnley midfielder is expected to reach his milestone appearance for the Republic during Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifier with Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium, six years on from his debut.
The achievement of reaching 50 caps is certainly a notable one, considering distinguished Premier League players from the past such as Eric Cantona, Gianfranco Zola and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink never made it to that tally.
It is true that the Republic cannot be regarded as one of the big-hitters in the international game, but Hendrick’s 49 caps include playing a number of high-profile qualifying matches, as well as starting all four of his country’s games at Euro 2016.
Hendrick is not the only current Premier League player that perhaps surprisingly boasts an impressive international career, with a number of others continuing to make headlines with their countries, despite going relatively unnoticed at club level.
Craig Cathcart – Watford and Northern Ireland
Watford central defender Cathcart enjoyed arguably his best season as a top-flight player last term, featuring 35 games as the Hornets secured their highest Premier League finish, while he also helped them reach the FA Cup final.
However, that was just the second time Cathcart has made over 30 Premier League starts in a single season having spent the early part of his career playing in the Championship, but despite that, he has been a consistent presence at international level with Northern Ireland over the last nine years.
The 30-year-old has featured 45 times for his country and has become an integral part of Michael O’Neill’s back four alongside Jonny Evans – a defence that has become renowned for keeping clean sheets over recent years.
Wayne Hennessey – Crystal Palace and Wales
Hennessey has enjoyed an illustrious 12-year international career with Wales, with the 32-year-old arguably being his country’s number one for the most successful period in their history.
The former Wolves ace played an integral role as Wales defied the odds to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and he is now closing in on a century of appearances for Ryan Giggs’ team.
However, although Hennessey remains Wales’ number one, he has lost his place between the sticks at Palace to Vicente Guaita, starting just 17 league games last season, while he is yet to feature in the top flight this term.
Marcos Rojo – Manchester United and Argentina
Defender Rojo actually joined United after helping Argentina to the World Cup final back in 2014 and he has managed to maintain his place in the national set-up despite becoming something of a forgotten man at Old Trafford.
The 29-year-old has represented Argentina at two World Cups and three Copa Americas, amassing 59 caps to date, even though he has been deemed surplus to requirements with United and is unlikely to figure in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team anytime soon.