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With Changes Needed, Here's The Ireland Team We Want To See Against Ukraine

With Changes Needed, Here's The Ireland Team We Want To See Against Ukraine
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Ireland's loss to Armenia yesterday was a disaster. Entering the UEFA Nations League with ambitions of winning the group, that is already looking highly unlikely.

The performance in Yerevan was an incredibly poor one. The team lacked any sort of attacking threat, while the lethargic nature of their play will also be of concern.

As a result, injecting some energy into the side for Wednesday's home game against Ukraine must be a priority. With a good crowd set to descend upon the Aviva Stadium, Ireland should be looking to make a fast start in the match.

With that in mind, here is the team we would like to see selected.

Ireland team we want against Ukraine

GK: Gavin Bazunu

Caoimhín Kelleher did very little wrong in the defeat in Armenia, making one excellent save and having little chance of stopping the goal. We wouldn't be against giving him another opportunity in this game with a couple more set to follow this month, although it seems more likely than Bazunu will be recalled for Wednesday's match.


CB: Nathan Collins

Despite the overall team performance, Nathan Collins put in an impressive display in Yerevan. He was solid at the back, reading the game well and breaking up a number of Armenian counterattacks. The Leixlip man also looked very good with the ball at his feet.


Dara O'Shea could come into the side, but it should not be at the expense of Collins who is Ireland's most in-form defender.

CB: Shane Duffy

Like his fellow defenders, Shane Duffy did not do much wrong yesterday. In saying that, he did look to lack a little bit of sharpness, most notably on the ball.

That is to be expected considering the weather conditions and his lack of recent playing time, although those 90 minutes should stand to him in this fixture.


CB: John Egan

Considering how much possession Ireland had for much of the game against Armenia, John Egan will be disappointed that he didn't have more of an impact on the game. The Sheffield United man has played a big part in Ireland's buildup play during recent matches but it was lacking on this occasion.

Still, he has to be one of the first names on the team sheet.

RWB: Festy Ebosele

Ireland's main issue against Armenia was an apparent lack of energy in the side, looking very lethargic both in and out of possession. That makes the inclusion of Ebosele an obvious one, with the soon to be Udinese man bringing pace running power in spades.


Against what will be either a tired or understrength Ukraine side after their World Cup play-off against Wales, he should get plenty of room to operate down the right flank. It seems like an ideal fixture in which to hand him his international debut.

LWB: James McClean


The rationale for McClean's selection is similar to that of Ebosele's. While at the opposite stage of his career, the Derry man brings a huger amount of energy to the side even if his delivery can let him down at times.

Enda Stevens looked well off the pace yesterday and considering his injury issues, it would make sense to take him out of the side for this game.


CM: Josh Cullen

It has been a long season for Josh Cullen, who played the full 90 minutes in all but one of Anderlecht's 34 league fixtures this season. That perhaps showed yesterday, with the midfielder lacking the pressing ability that has made him such an important player in this side.

In saying that, Ireland can't really afford not to play him against Ukraine. No other player in the squad brings the same qualities that he does to the middle third of the pitch. Kenny should continue with him and hope that the cooler conditions in Dublin can rejuvenate the 26-year old.

CM: Jason Knight

Jeff Hendrick was poor in Armenia. He started the game well, but his lack if playing time in recent months became painfully apparent as the game went on. Jason Knight offers far more in the middle third in terms of energy and running power, while he also has a bigger attacking threat.


Hendrick has his qualities, but it is becoming apparent that he can't really function as part of a midfield two.

FW: Chiedozie Ogbene

Ireland's best player once again, Ogbene has to start every game he is available for. The winger was the team's only real attacking threat yesterday and the attacking performance would have been even worse without him.

He has been an absolute revelation over the last 12 months or so.


FW: Callum Robinson

It was a bit if a surprise to see Callum Robinson taken off with 25 minutes to play in Yerevan. It had not been his best game, but he had shown a couple of small glimpses of quality during him time on the pitch. We also know that he is the most likely Ireland player to produce a goal out of nothing.

Considering his recent goalscoring record, he should start again against Ukraine.

ST: Michael Obafemi

Obafemi didn't have much of an impact after coming on against Armenia, although the performance of the team certainly wouldn't have helped a player that is depending on his teammates to provide him with some quality service up front.

It would be interesting to see him given a start on Wednesday. Considering Ireland's inconsistent form in front of goal, putting their most in-form forward in the side seems like something of a no-brainer.


The Team In Full

ireland team ukraine

This would be five changes to the team that lost in Armenia, something that could well be needed considering the performance in that game and the busy fixture schedule over the next nine days. It remains to be seen how much Stephen Kenny will be willing to shuffle his deck.

One thing we do know is that a much better performance will be needed if Ireland are to get a first ever UEFA Nations League victory against the Ukrainians.

SEE ALSO: Didi Hamann Questions Ireland's Plan Of Attack After Armenia Defeat

didi hamann ireland armenia


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