UNder normal circumstances, as well as Rovers’ push for a top six finish, international prospects would have been on the mind for some of Tony Mowbray’s squad.

News on Tuesday broke that Euro 2020 would be pushed back 12 months, and now take place between June 11 and July 11 2021. There is still plenty to sort before then, not least completing the line-up for the competition, with the play-offs still to be determined.

They were due to take place later this month, but have now been pushed back to June, though those may still be somewhat optimistic, settled on with the next round of Nations League qualifiers already scheduled for the autumn.

Play-off matches, which include three of the home nations, were due to take place between March 26 and March 31, but have now been pushed back to take place between June 1 and June 9, the next scheduled international break.



Darragh Lenihan was set to be in the Republic of Ireland squad for their play-off game with Slovakia which had already been scheduled to be played behind closed doors, before the postponement.

Lenihan has been in excellent form for Rovers this season, winning two caps for his country, but none this season. He was called up to the provisional squad for the August matches, but missed out on the final squad, while he was unavailable for matches in October and November through injury.

But having captained Rovers, and been a key reason behind their defensive improvement this term, the 26-year-old would have been in Mick McCarthy’s squad for the Slovakia trip.

The winner of that tie would have played Bosnia & Herzegovina or Northern Ireland, with a place in Group E alongside Spain, Sweden and Poland up for grabs.

Lenihan has been in good form, but said last month of his chances of becoming a starter in the team: “The position I’m playing in is a very tough one to get into in the Irish team, you have the likes of (Shane) Duffy, (John) Egan, (Ciaran) Clark, Kevin Long, who are all playing in the Premier League.”

Fellow Rovers defender Derrick Williams would also have been included in the provisional Ireland squad this month, despite only just returning from a calf problem which has seen him play just once in 2020.

Williams suffered the same injury in November having scored his first Ireland goal when winning his second cap in the win over New Zealand in November.

But he has been around the squad for some time, winning his first cap in the summer of 2018 against France, and named in the provisional squad for the September matches, before being unused when called up for the October matches.



Three consecutive wins for Steve Clarke’s side, against San Marino, Kazakhstan and Cyprus booked the Tartan Army a spot in the play-off matches and a semi-final home tie against Israel.

They will be looking to join England, Croatia and Czech Republic in Group D of the finals should they see off Israel and then the winner of the tie between Norway and Serbia. Charlie Mulgrew was loaned out by Rovers last summer, but the 33-year-old opted to cut that short in January and return to the club, but has since failed to make a matchday squad.

Tony Mowbray batted off suggestions that was down to contractual reasons, with Mulgrew currently sitting on 99 Rovers league appearances, but the left-footed defender hasn’t now played any senior football since December.

He has since turned out for Rovers in an Under-23s game, and a behind closed doors fixture, his only minutes since picking up an injury in early December with Wigan.

Mulgrew has been a regular for Scotland in the last two years, and started the 4-0 defeats to Belgium and Russia, before being left out for the San Marino wins, and missing the November qualifiers through injury.

Scotland have had problems in the heart of their defence, but given his lack of game-time and recent injury worries, Mulgrew wasn't set to be called up by the Tartan Army.

He has another year left on his Ewood Park contract, but hopes of playing in a first international tournament of his career would first rest on Scotland making it through the play-offs, but then securing a move this summer that would guarantee him more regular football.



Corry Evans could be one man to benefit from the delay to the European Championships. The Northern Ireland midfielder is currently battling back from a horrific facial injury suffered in Rovers’ draw with Preston in January.

He opened up on his injury to BBC Northern Ireland and as well as revealing the extent of his scar and what he was told by surgeons, Evans also said he hoped to back in full training by May.

That will include overcoming the psychological battle of heading a ball once again, after being caught by a high boot when putting in a brave challenge which saw him sustain the injury.

Evans has been a regular for Northern Ireland, when available, winning 54 caps in all, captaining the side last year when he reached a half century against Luxembourg.

There is uncertainty of the managerial position at Northern Ireland, with Michael O’Neill having taken over the reins at Championship side Stoke City, but had still hoped to be in charge for the play-off matches, and finals, should they make it through.

They face a trip to Bosnia in the semi-finals, with Slovakia or Republic of Ireland awaiting the winner.

Evans will hope to be back fit and playing as soon as possible, but his chances of playing in a second international tournament of his career - having featured in Euro 2016 - received a boost with news that the tournament would now be played in 2021.