Football

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

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

It may have only been a friendly, but it's fair to say that last night's heavy defeat to England has the potential to do plenty of damage to this Ireland team. It makes you wonder why this game was ever played in the first place and it's imperative that Stephen Kenny's side bounce back with a good performance against Wales on Sunday.

Very few players emerged from the fixture in Wembley having put in a strong performance, making changes likely. This game offers the opportunity to blood some of the younger members of the squad.

Here's the team we would go with.

GK: Caoimhin Kelleher

Darren Randolph is still Ireland's number one, but perhaps it is time to give another goalkeeper in the squad his first cap. Stephen Kenny is a huge fan of Caomhin Kelleher, saying that goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly couldn't quite believe just how good he is.

It was hinted that the Liverpool man would already be pushing for the number one jersey had he got more game time this season, so we wouldn't be surprised if he featured in one of the next two games.

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RB: Matt Doherty

Doherty deputised well at left back at Wembley, but assuming Seamus Coleman is still unavailable, we would move him to his natural position for the game in Cardiff.

The Spurs defender has looked more comfortable with each game of the Kenny era, something we hope continues in this game.

 

CB: Shane Duffy

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Duffy struggled greatly during the game against England and his club form is a big concern at the moment. Despite this, he has enough credit in the bank at international level to be given the opportunity to turn things around against Wales.

He also remains one of Ireland's biggest goal threats.

CB: Dara O'Shea

We're assuming the knock John Egan suffered last night will keep him out of the game on Sunday, but Dara O'Shea deserves a start anyway after another decent showing.

The West Brom man has played as much in the Premier League this season as just about any other Irish player, an encouraging sign for a 21-year old. He will have a big future at international level so getting him integrated into the side as soon as possible should be a priority for Stephen Kenny.

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LB: Ryan Manning

Ryan Manning has been overlooked too often at international level over the last 18 months or so, but having joined up with the squad for the first time last month, we would hand him his international debut on Sunday.

The Galway native is the only natural left back in the squad. He should be given the chance to put a marker down.

DM: Jayson Molumby

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We were surprised to see Molumby left out of the starting lineup last night and the midfield certainly lacked energy in his absence. He made a major impact after coming on and put in a brilliant performance against Wales in the corresponding fixture last month.

Molumby has the potential to be the type of all action midfielder that Ireland have been crying out for for the last decade.

CM: Conor Hourihane

It's difficult to assess Conor Hourihane's recent performances for Ireland. It's clear he is an excellent passer of the ball, but he often takes too much out of possession before playing those passes. His lack of running power is also a concern, especially when he is playing in a holding role.

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We think he needs somebody like Jayson Molumby alongside him if he is to be effective for Ireland. This is an opportunity to get a good look at how they work together. The fact that Alan Browne is unavailable also works in his favour.

CM: Jeff Hendrick

Jeff Hendrick divides opinion like no other Ireland player, but his performance against England was decent. He moved the ball at pace in the limited opportunities he was granted in possession, attempting to get the team playing.

He has shown flashes under Kenny, but they have been sandwiched between large spells of hugely frustrating play.

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RW: Callum O'Dowda

O'Dowda looked far less comfortable operating on the left wing during the England game, with the Bristol City player more effective when cutting inside onto his stronger left foot. He is a favourite of Kenny having been given the nod to start when fully fit.

We would give him another opportunity in his favoured position in this one.

 

ST: Adam Idah

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The Norwich City striker performed a thankless job at Wembley, but he should be given more attacking opportunities in this game. Ireland had more of the ball when the two sides met last month, and while that could be a slightly different story away from home, they will create chances.

Richie Sadlier said on RTÉ last night that Idah needed to be given a run in the team to find his feet at this level, something we agree with. Give him another start and this one and perhaps he can get the goal that really kickstarts his Ireland career.

LW: Ronan Curtis

Ronan Curtis has not played much under Stephen Kenny, but he has looked very dangerous during his limited opportunities. He came agonisingly close to scoring the equalising goal late on in Finland, while he was probably Ireland's most threatening attacker last night despite only playing 20 minutes or so.

He has also proven to be very effective when playing off the left for Portsmouth.

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The Team In Full

In all, this is five changes from the team that faced England. A couple of those are enforced, but this side would see the further introduction of some much needed fresh blood into the Ireland squad.

SEE ALSO: Roy Keane's Damning Assessment Of Ireland's Loss To England

Gary Connaughton

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