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Here's The Intriguing Ireland Team We Want To See Against France

Here's The Intriguing Ireland Team We Want To See Against France
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Ireland will host France on Monday night, with very few giving Stephen Kenny's side any chance of picking up a positive result.

The French are a formidable outfit, having only missed out on winning a second consecutive World Cup in Qatar due to a penalty shootout loss in the final.

Ireland will have to put in an incredible performance in order to get anything from the game, and while it seems unlikely, you can never say never in football.

Here is the team we would select in order to give them the best chance at pulling off a famous upset.

The Ireland team we want against France

GK: Gavin Bazunu

Caoimhín Kelleher was given an opportunity to stake his claim for this position against Latvia, although it is unlikely that he did enough to earn the start against France.

Stephen Kenny has favoured Bazunu in every competitive fixture he has been available for and will do so once again for this fixture.

CB: Nathan Collins

Nathan Collins was a bit rusty at times against Latvia, something that is understandable considering his relative lack of football at club level in recent weeks. In saying that, he was probably still Ireland's most reliable defender on the night.


He is all but certain  to start once again in this game and will have to put in a big performance if Ireland are to have any chance of pulling off an upset.

CB: John Egan

Egan was rested for most of the game on Wednesday, only coming off the bench for the last half hour or so.

He is certain to come back in for this one and will captain the side if Seamus Coleman does not start.


CB: Dara O'Shea

This is where things start to get interesting. Seamus Coleman carried a small knock into this camp, and while he isn't even certain to start if fit, he will come under consideration for a spot in the back three as well as at wingback.

In any case, we would opt for Dara O'Shea. France are a very physical team, one that has the ability to dominate in the air. O'Shea's height is not something Ireland can afford to lose as they attempt to limit the opposition at set-pieces.

RWB: Seamus Coleman

This would be a huge call for Stephen Kenny to make.


Matt Doherty has been an automatic starter for most of his tenure, with either him or Coleman slotting into another position in the side in order to accommodate both of them.

However, for reasons mentioned above, the Everton man is not really a good option for the back three on this occasion. As well as that, a comparison of the recent form of both players leaves the Donegal well ahead in terms of both playing time and performance level.


Ultimately, Ireland cannot really afford to leave Coleman out. Not only has he been in good form, but his leadership will be important in a game where the side are likely to be under the cosh for extended periods.


Of course, all of this is moot if Coleman is not fit enough to play.

LWB: Callum O'Dowda

Kenny could look at playing Doherty in this spot, but Callum O'Dowda did enough against Latvia to keep his place in the side.

The Cardiff City man is excellent on the ball, with his set-piece delivery also a big plus. You can expect to see him in the starting XI on Monday.


CM: Josh Cullen

Another automatic selection, Cullen should come into this one raring to go having been rested in midweek.

The Irish midfield certainly looks like a much less coherent unit when he isn't in it and it will be great to see him back for this one.

CM: Jason Knight

Stephen Kenny hinted heavily on Wednesday night that both Cullen and Jason Knight were rested with an eye on the France game, so you can expect to see the Derby County man in the team.


The Dubliner has always performed well for Ireland when given the opportunity, even when asked to fill different roles within the side. His energy will be hugely important in limiting France in forward areas.

CM: Will Smallbone

Stephen Kenny will probably select Jayson Molumby here and it would certainly not be a bad choice. Similar to Knight, his energy would be a big bonus to have in the side.

However, Will Smallbone did more than enough against Latvia to earn another start. He brings a huge amount of creativity to the middle third, and while he does not quite have the defensive attributes of Molumby, Ireland are going to have to create chances if they hope to get anything out of the game.

It seems unlikely, but we would give Smallbone the nod.

ST: Evan Ferguson

It was brilliant to see Evan Ferguson get his first Ireland goal in midweek, one that should be the first of many.

He simply has to start against France, with the only question being who will partner him up front.

ST: Michael Obafemi

Michael Obafemi, Troy Parrott, and Chiedozie Ogbene will all come under consideration here. Kenny could opt for Ogbene, with his pace in behind being a major asset in a fixture where Ireland are likely to be largely limited to counterattacks.

In saying that, we saw enough in the Ferguson-Obafemi partnership the other night to suggest that it is the way to go against France. Considering Irish chances are likely to be limited, having two strong finishers in the side could prove to be crucial.

The Team In Full

This would make five changes to the team that defeated Latvia. In truth, much of the side has already been set in stone, with only a handful of decisions to make.

They come on Seamus Coleman's place in the side, either in the back three or at right wingback. The other big call comes in midfield, where Smallbone and Molumby are likely to battle it out for the final position.

SEE ALSO: 5 Players From Ireland's Last Win Over France That Went Down Very Different Career Paths

ireland team last win over france


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