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Here's The Attacking Ireland Team We Want To See Against Gibraltar

Here's The Attacking Ireland Team We Want To See Against Gibraltar
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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As Ireland prepare to face Gibraltar at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night, Stephen Kenny finds himself in a familiar position.

The pressure around his position as manager that had seemingly dissipated over the last 12 months is very much back, perhaps to a degree that we have not seen before. Even the most ardent Kenny defenders are now starting to question his ability to lead the team moving forward.

As a result, a fairly routine home fixture against a European minnow now becomes a potentially decisive game in mapping out his future.

It is clear that some big changes are needed from the game in Athens, where Ireland looked completely uninspired in an incredibly poor loss to Greece.

Here's the much changed team we would select to get the job done in a key Euro 2024 qualifier.

The Ireland team we want against Gibraltar

GK: Gavin Bazunu

Bazunu was one of the few players who emerged from the game in Athens with any real credit, making a couple of brilliant saves to stop Ireland falling to an even more convincing defeat.

The Southampton man may have been dropped at club level towards the end of the campaign, but that has not affected his form on the international stage.


CB: Nathan Collins

Outside of Bazunu, Nathan Collins was probably Ireland's best performer against the Greeks. He defended quite well, while he was arguably the only player that consistently managed to bypass the Greece press with his passing.

The centre back's eye for a goal is also becoming increasingly important in a side that seem to be lacking in that department.

CB: John Egan

John Egan is set to captain Ireland once again in this fixture, with Seamus Coleman absent through injury.


The Sheffield United man was reasonably sold in Greece despite the constant pressure from the opposition and is certain to retain his place in the starting XI.

CB: Dara O'Shea

Stephen Kenny opted to play Darragh Lenihan in Athens, a decision that was probably made as a result of Dara O'Shea's recent injury layoff.

It didn't quite work out. Much of the Greek attacks seemed to come down Lenihan's lefthand side, most notably for their second goal. His passing also left a bit to be desired, especially when attempting to play up the pitch.


If O'Shea is fit, he should return to the team.

RM: Jason Knight

There's a big decision to be made in this spot, both in terms of position and personnel. You would expect Ireland to dominate the ball against Gibraltar, meaning we are more likely to see a genuine 3-4-1-2 formation as opposed to flat back five that was used in the last game.

With Matt Doherty suspended, Jason Knight would slot into that right midfield role nicely. He has played out wide for Derby quite a bit over the course of his career and has produced some decent attacking output in an Ireland jersey.



CM: Josh Cullen


It wasn't Cullen's finest game in Greece, although you would expect him to bounce back rather quickly.

The midfielder has been a pillar of consistency for Ireland over the last couple of years.


CM: Will Smallbone

Jayson Molumby offers quite a bit to the Irish midfield, but his lack of attacking threat is something that needs to be considered for this game. Ireland will likely be asked to break down a deep-lying Gibraltar defence, something the West Brom man does not excel at.

Will Smallbone was poor in Greece, but his ability to produce in the final third makes him a better fit for this fixture. His set-pieces are also a big plus to have in the side.

LM: Mikey Johnston

Callum O'Dowda and James McClean have been used at left wingback for Ireland in recent times, but why not include Mikey Johnston in a more attacking lineup?


The former Scotland youth international has impressed in his three substitute appearances to date and it is now time for him to start. He has the ability to create something out of nothing, a trait not many other members of the squad possess.

There will be some concerns about his defensive abilities in this formation, although the three centre backs should be enough to deal with the Gibraltar attack.

CAM: Jamie McGrath

Jamie McGrath has become somewhat of a forgotten man in the Ireland setup. Having previously looked like he was going to establish himself as a key player in the squad, only for his struggles at club level after a move to Wigan to affect his international chances.

This could be the fixture to properly bring him back into the fold. McGrath scored eight goals in the Scottish Premiership this season on loan at a struggling Dundee United, while he has also shown that he is capable of setting up his teammates.

Along with Smallbone, they have the quality to provide the Irish attack with a much needed increase in service.

ST: Evan Ferguson

Evan Ferguson struggled to get into the game on Friday night, but that was largely down to a lack of service. The 18-year old has clearly been asked to play in a more rigid attacking role with Ireland, not dropping deep and getting involved in the play the way he does with Brighton.

If that is going to continue moving forward, he needs to be surrounded with players who are capable of getting the ball to him in dangerous areas.

ST: Michael Obafemi

The decision not to start Michael Obafemi in Greece was a baffling one. Adam Idah was clearly selected in order to run the channels and give Ireland an option on the counterattack, but it simply didn't work and the Norwich City man was withdrawn at halftime.

You get the sense that Stephen Kenny still isn't convinced by the Burnley man, something that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. He has consistently produced for Ireland when given the opportunity, both in terms of goals and linking up well with his teammates.

Obafemi needs to be in the team on Monday night.


The Team In Full

This is a very cavalier lineup, one that should give Ireland the opportunity to produce the type of emphatic attacking performance that Stephen Kenny so desperately needs a this point.

One thing that is clear: we need to see some sort of change after the performance that was produced in Athens.

SEE ALSO: Brian Kerr's Comments On Stephen Kenny After Greece Disaster Are Predictable & Damning

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