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Here's The Ireland Team We Want To See Take The Game To Georgia

Here's The Ireland Team We Want To See Take The Game To Georgia
By Mikey Traynor
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Here we go again.

It's time for what is sure to be another difficult and uncomfortable trip to Georgia where the timidity with which they tend to travel is replaced by a fierce desire to perform in front of their home crowd.

In the past we've been lucky, and the Georgians have been the soundest team in international football as they continued to take points off of our rivals in qualification campaigns, but if we can get a result this time we will be in truly great shape to make it to Russia next summer.

If the boys in green can claim three points, we then have the luxury of watching Wales vs Austria at 7.45 knowing that whoever fails to win that game is essentially dead in the group.

A draw still keeps us in a good position, particularly if Wales and Austria draw too, but it means we will need a big performance and result against Serbia on Tuesday.

With that in mind, here is the team we want to send out and get three points in Tbilisi.

Keeper & Back Four:


The goalkeeper and four defenders in this team are pretty much nailed on to be what Martin O'Neill sends out. Darren Randolph is still our number one, and while some are calling for Rob Elliot to be starting as he is playing Premier League football, his frankly shocking distribution with the ball at his feet is why he won't get picked ahead of the Middlesbrough man, who is, unfortunately, one of our most creative players when Wes Hoolahan isn't on the pitch.

Cyrus Christie is the only option at right-back and could get some joy down that wing if he picks up where he left off in the summer, while the Premier League combo of Shane Duffy and Ciaran Clark are likely to keep their spots as O'Neill's preferred duo, although Richard Keogh could come in for experience. Stephen Ward is a cert.




This is probably the area of the pitch that is most up for debate. Glenn Whelan is another certain starter, as Georgia away is where you need your old heads that have been there and done it before, who joins him in midfield is the question.

Harry Arter is in good club form and will battle for everything from box to box, so we expect him to be picked alongside Whelan, leaving one space further up the pitch to be decided.

It appears to be between Wes Hoolahan and Conor Hourihane for that place, and while the Aston Villa man has form on his side in that debate, we've opted for Wes purely for his experience and the fact that we know we'll play some decent stuff with him in the team. If Hoolahan doesn't start, he could be kept as a game-changing sub if things aren't going how we need them to.


Another option here is Robbie Brady, depending on the fitness of Jon Walters.


While Shane Long has not been seeing a lot of action at Southampton, he's fully fit and will be chomping at the bit to lead the line against Georgia. We know what we'll get from him, so he was straight into our team.


McClean on the left wing has been probably our best player in qualification so far, and he will certainly be tasked with wreaking havoc as he did against Austria and Moldova.

The right wing is a bit more complicated, as Jon Walters could probably start despite recovering from an injury. He will want to start, of course he will, but we'd rather go with Robbie Brady there who showed last week at Wembley just how much of a threat he can be.

There's no reason we can't go out and get a win to put us in an outstanding position to qualify for a World Cup automatically... But it's hard to see anything other than a nervy, uncomfortable game. It has 1-0 written all over it, but if that one goal is scored by an Irishman nobody will have any complaints.


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