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Brian Kerr Questions Stephen Kenny's Selection In Loss Against Scotland

Brian Kerr Questions Stephen Kenny's Selection In Loss Against Scotland
By Oisin Gaffey
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Brian Kerr has asked if Stephen Kenny is selecting the right team when reviewing the Republic of Ireland's 2-1 loss to Scotland on the weekend. Talking on Virgin Media on Sunday night, Kerr asks if Ireland would have been able to hold on to their 1-0 lead if they had more experienced players on the pitch.

'Did the manager get the selections right?' 

Following the disappointing loss on Saturday, the Republic of Ireland find themselves in a relegation battle with Armenia in a UEFA Nations League clash on Tuesday night in the Aviva. Ireland must avoid defeat if they are to secure safety in Group B.

Brian Kerr, who has been a frequent critic of Stephen Kenny, discussed Kenny's youthful Ireland team selection. Kerr specifically highlighted right back, centre back and striker as positions in which questions lie.

Choosing Matt Doherty or Seamus Coleman was one of the trickier calls of the night, with both lacking match fitness. With regards to right-back, Kerr says:

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'Matt Doherty struggled on the goal and then he had a chance to redeem himself when he made the opportunity at the other end of the pitch.

You wonder if Seamus Coleman would have done better in that position, that's the big decision the manager has to make.'

One of the turning points of the game was Troy Parrott's miss in the 56th minute. He talks of Parrott's 'poor run at club level' having failed to score for Preston so far this season and asks the question:

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Would one of the more experienced forwards have done better

Kenny opted to start Dara O'Shea and Nathan Collins beside John Egan and Kerr again wondered if Shane Duffy might have been more assertive in the build-up to Scotland's first goal.

Would one of the more experienced centre-halves that wasn't chosen, like Shane Duffy, have done better than one of the younger ones when the cross came into the box for the first goal? Or when the corner came in for the eventual penalty kick?

They're the big decisions the manager has to make.

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READ HERE: Brian Kerr Criticises Stephen Kenny For Claims Around Ireland's Progress During His Tenure

'It would be very hard to be over critical of the performance last night.'

As for the overall performance on the night, Brian Kerr was pleased, highlighting how 'the team played quite well'. However, he had some issues regarding the wing-back situation, saying:

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I felt that we ended up with a back 5 too often at times. If you play a back 5 and the opposition plays a back 4, normally your full backs will engage your oppositions full backs when they are getting forward. That wasn't the case yesterday, our back 5 stayed in place.

Particularly in the first half, the midfield three of Molumby, Knight and Cullen were very impressive and effective in pressing the Scottish team. Kerr, however, points out a lack of creativity and a lack of goals from this Irish side, adding:

'The midfield 3 scrapped very hard and worked very hard and stopped Scotland getting a lot of rhythm until the second half, but they didn't do a huge amount with the ball themselves. Most of our best creative stuff came from our back to the front, with early passes into the front two, who played well together as a pair together.'

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But we still need goals. We only get very few chances at the National games and you've got to take them.

Brian Kerr on Ireland losing from winning positions

In his criticisms, Kerr highlights a reoccurring problem with Kenny's Irish team, losing when they themselves take the lead. Their inability to close out games from winning positions is a concern for Kerr, who asks:

'With more experienced players on the pitch, would we have held on to a 1-0 lead? We don't know but it's been reoccurring. We've been ahead against Ukraine, it's happened previously in Portugal.'

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There's something missing that we keep losing matches, we've lost too many matches and we've been out of too many groups too soon.

The brand of football this Irish side is producing is great to watch, but Kerr raises some interesting questions. With more experience would Ireland now find themselves batting for top spot in Group B? These are all hypotheticals, but with the Republic of Ireland desperate to qualify for Euro 2024 they will need to improve on closing out matches.

SEE ALSO: Here's The Ireland Team To Get The Job Done Against Armenia

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