Football

Shane Duffy Full Of Praise For Emergency Centre Back Matt Doherty

Shane Duffy Full Of Praise For Emergency Centre Back Matt Doherty

It was hardly an ideal buildup for Ireland heading into today's Nations League clash with Wales. Not only did the story around Aaron Connolly and Adam Idah's absence in Slovakia continue to develop, but is soon emerged that Ireland had another Covid-19 case in the camp.

A member of the squad tested positive, with four other players ruled out as a result. That left Ireland with only 18 players for the Wales games, three of whom were goalkeepers.

Things got even worse midway through the first half when Kevin Long was forced off due to injury. With no other natural centre back in the squad, Stephen Kenny was forced to use Matt Doherty in the role.

It's fair to say things went fairly well for him. He put in an excellent performance in an unfamiliar position, earning man-of-the-match honours from Sky Sports in the process.

Speaking after the game, Doherty said that playing in the role gave him a bigger appreciation for what centre backs do in the team and that he might not shout at much at his teammates in that position in the future.

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Shane Duffy was the man playing alongside the Spurs player in the heart of the defence and he came away very impressed with what he saw from his partner. Speaking to members of the media after the game, he said that Doherty adapted brilliantly to the new position and claimed that he was the one that did most of the shouting on this occasion.

I thought he was brilliant. He was great, he did everything that he had to do. He knows the defensive side of the game and he's getting better every game as well.

He fit in great...

My voice is gone shouting at him! Listen, it's a completely different role to what he's played before.

It's different, but it's good for us that we know we can play him there. Hopefully we don't need him there because we would rather have him at right back.

He did a job for us, kept a clean sheet, and I thought he was great. So fair play to him.

Despite Doherty's strong performance, Stephen Kenny will probably be hoping that he doesn't have to use him in this role for Wednesday's game in Finland.

The severity of Kevin Long's injury is unclear, but there have been suggestions that Dara O'Shea is about to be called up from the U21 squad for the fixture.

 

Gary Connaughton

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