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Here's The Ireland Team We Want To See Start Against Finland

Here's The Ireland Team We Want To See Start Against Finland
By Gary Connaughton
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Stephen Kenny's reign as Ireland manager didn't quite get off to the start we would have hoped for, even if there were plenty of signs of encouragement during the draw in Bulgaria.

Ireland kept the ball very well, despite the fact that they did lack a bit of cutting edge at times. The performance certainly gives them an excellent platform going forward, but we are likely to see a couple of changes for Sunday's fixture against Finland.

David McGoldrick is set to come back into the fold, while a couple of starters from last night's game could make way after some questionable performances.

Here's the team we would like to see start at the Aviva Stadium this weekend.

GK: Darren Randolph

Randolph put in a strong performance in Sofia, even if he was asked to do little in terms of shot-stopping. The West Ham man show brilliant adeptness with his feet and a calmness on the ball that wasn't really present under other managers.

He has clearly been given the goal of keeping the ball on the floor by Kenny, something he is more than capable of doing.

RB: Matt Doherty

It's fair to say things didn't go Matt Doherty's way against the Bulgarians, but that doesn't mean he should be replaced in the team.


The Spurs defender has earned the right to be given an extended run in the side. You can't drop him off the back of one middling performance, especially when he had to wait this long to get his opportunity.

If Ireland are to become as proficient in attack as we are all hoping, Doherty needs to be in the starting XI.

CB: Shane Duffy

Duffy rescued a late point for Ireland with a cracking header, the type of goal that has become his trademark over the years. However, his overall performance was quite poor.


The Celtic defender attempted to dribble the ball out of the defence with mixed results, while his positioning for the Bulgarian goal was atrocious. It's clear Duffy will take some time to adapt to Kenny's system, with the new Ireland boss requiring more on the ball while also offering slightly less protection from the midfield.

CB: John Egan

Whereas Duffy struggled on the ball, John Egan excelled in the role. He looked comfortable throughout, playing some wonderful long-range passes at times.

He is probably the first name on the team sheet at the moment and will no doubt play a key role under the new manager.


LB: Enda Stevens

Much like Doherty on the opposite flank, Enda Stevens was not afforded the same freedoms as we have become used to seeing at club level.


Conor Houriahane's propensity to drift onto the left wing certainly played a part in that, with Stevens becoming far more involved after the Villa man dropped into the holding midfield role for the final 15 minutes. We would expect him to get on far more ball against the Finns.

DM: James McCarthy

Perhaps hampered by the knock he picked up playing for Crystal Palace last week, James McCarthy didn't have quite the impact he would have hoped for in his return to international football.


He put in some decent challenges in the holding midfield role but did not dictate the tempo of play in the manner Stephen Kenny will require from the player in that position.

He may opt for Harry Arter in Sunday's fixture, but we would give McCarthy another opportunity. He has shown over the last 12 months that he is ideally built for this role in the team.


CM: Robbie Brady

Despite being on the pitch for just over 15 minutes, there is a strong argument to be made that Robbie Brady was Ireland's best player last night. He was involved in everything good the team did, refusing to shy away from the ball and creating some excellent chances for his teammates.

You'd imagine he will come into starting XI this weekend as a result, with little reason to stray from the central midfield role he played so well in Sofia.

CM: Jayson Molumby

Ireland kept the ball well in Bulgaria, but it's fair to say there play lacked a bit of urgency at times. That was the case both on and off the ball.


This is where Jayson Molumby could make a massive difference. The Brighton midfielder is ferocious in his pressing while also having the ability to move the ball quickly. He seems like an obvious addition, with the need for Conor Hourihane's set-pieces also lessened by Brady's inclusion in the team.

RW: Callum Robinson

Callum O'Dowda started fairly well against the Bulgarians, but his end product was sorely lacking throughout. He influence also wained significantly as the game went on.

Callum Robinson injected a bit of life after his introduction, and even though his couple of shot attempts were well off the target, at least he showed a willingness to take on the responsibility. We would like to see what he could do playing from the right in a Stephen Kenny team.

ST: David McGoldrick

Adam Idah performed admirably on his debut, but David McGoldrick has to come back into the team if he is fit.

The Sheffield United man has probably been Ireland's best player over the last 18 months, putting in a number of excellent performances. He is also the perfect fit to operate as the central striker in the Stephen Kenny team.

LW: Aaron Connolly

Aaron Connolly looked dangerous throughout against Bulgaria and would have had a couple of goals on another day. Stephen Kenny has huge faith in the Brighton forward, using him as the team's main attacking outlet right from the first whistle.

If he can replicate this performance going forward, Connolly will be a key player under the new manager.

The Team In Full

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