Albion stars head into international fixtures in high spirits

Captain Gordon Greer hopes to represent his country (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood, BHAFC)
Captain Gordon Greer hopes to represent his country (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood, BHAFC)

For many of the squad, it’s a chance to take a breather.

If you’d told most Albion fans that, come the end of the first month of the season, the club would be top of the Championship table, they wouldn’t have believed you. But, after five league games, that’s the case as we head into the first international break of the campaign.

Israeli international Tomer Hemed scored twice at Ipswich Town (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood, BHAFC)

Israeli international Tomer Hemed scored twice at Ipswich Town (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood, BHAFC)

For many of the squad, it’s a chance to take a breather after a hectic opening start, but a number of players will still be in action over the next two weeks, representing their countries in friendly matches and, more importantly, European Championship qualifiers.

Albion will have a vested interest in two players in Israel’s squad for their Euro 2016 games, with Tomer Hemed and Beram Kayal in action. Israel is currently third in Group B, and played Andorra at home yesterday (Thursday). Their toughest test will come on Sunday against Wales, who topped the group going into the international break.

Skipper Gordon Greer could get his ninth and tenth caps for Scotland, who play Euro qualifiers against Georgia this evening (Friday), before welcoming World Cup holders Germany to Hampden Park on Monday. Also in European Championship action will be Albion goalkeeper Niki Mäenpää, who is first choice to start for Finland in games against Greece and the Faroe Islands.

Some of Albion’s younger players will be in under-21 action. Jake Forster-Caskey and Solly March will link up with Gareth Southgate’s England side, but Christian Walton’s recent injury has forced him to pull out of the squad. Glen Rea and Vahid Hambo will be part of the Republic of Ireland and Finland under-21 sides, respectively.

It’s hard to remember a time when the club had so many players receiving international call-ups. With Jack Harper and Jamie Murphy on the radar of the Scottish national set-up, the number of Albion players away during the two-week break is only likely to increase in the future.