Football

The Jeff Hendrick Debate: Should He Be Dropped For Switzerland Game?

The Jeff Hendrick Debate: Should He Be Dropped For Switzerland Game?

How do Ireland approach the Switzerland game? Mick McCarthy has had the mantra in this campaign that a draw away from home is a good result for Ireland, but a point in Geneva on Tuesday does little for our qualification hopes.

Ireland need to win one of their last two games to qualify. The Swiss match is the first test.

In many senses, we don't really have anything to lose. A defeat in this one isn't really any different from a draw, so should we go for it from the start?

We would guess that McCarthy will stick with the team that has brought him this far, but a couple of changes are not out of the question. Aaron Connolly is the obvious name to come into the team, but is Jeff Hendrick's place now under threat?

He was very poor in the draw in Tbilisi, offering little in our out of possession. While he has been a mainstay in the team over the past four years or so, his place could be under pressure.

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This was the debate had on The Balls.ie Football Show, where the lads had differing opinions. Gary felt that a change could be needed, but Sean and Mark felt that sticking with Hendrick was the best option for this game.

Gary: After Jeff Hedrick's performance the other night, and I've defended him a lot throughout this campaign because at times we have seen how good he can be in very small flashes, but I can't justify putting him into the team against after he was so poor in Georgia.

He didn't have any impact on the ball or off the ball, so I'd pick Alan Browne there. Just to try something different.

Mark: I think we play Hendrick. I think you're being overly critical of him on Saturday. It's because we don't seem to have a game plan. None of the player shone on Saturday.

He was by no means disastrous.

Sean: I don't think he was the worst player we had, but I think there were a lot of players that played on the level that he did.

There's an abdication. When you do that, you're anticipating that somebody else is going to do something. The times when Jeff Hendrick has seemed to perform well for Ireland is when he can make a break from midfield, like he did against Switzerland at home, quickly do a man and lay it off.

He's playing it off to a striker or someone in an attacking position. There's nothing to say that he can't do that again. If we play high up the pitch then we're going to need some one like him. I don't think Alan Browne can do it but Hendrick can.

Gary: That's the thing about Jeff Hendrick though, a lot of it is theoretical. I have no problem with Jeff Hendrick and have defended him more than most, and this is the first time I would have considered taking him out of the team.

But he's drifting as the campaign goes on. He started it well, but his performance levels have been dipping, apart from a couple of flashes they have been dipping in the past few games.

SEE ALSO: Here's The Ireland Team We Would Pick To Beat Switzerland

Gary Connaughton

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