Football

Kenny Confirms McGoldrick Won't Start Against Finland, Coy On Other Changes

Kenny Confirms McGoldrick Won't Start Against Finland, Coy On Other Changes

After showing some signs of performance in Bulgaria, Stephen Kenny will hope his Ireland side can take their performance to another level in tomorrow's clash with Finland.

Ireland played some lovely football at times, although they were lacking a cutting edge in the final third.

It will be interesting to see what changes, if any, are made for the game against the Finns. It had been thought that David McGodlrick would come back into the side after he recovered from his recent foot injury. The Sheffield United man seems like an ideal fit in the new manager's system.

However, it appears as though he will not be fit to start.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference today, Kenny said that McGoldrick's lack of match fitness means he will not be in the starting XI. As for potential changes in the midfield, Kenny gave little away and insisted that continuity is important for his squad going forward.

James [McCarthy] is a really exceptional player. He's got a brilliant range of passing, he's got every pass you need but he also offers protection to the back four. He reads it so well. He's quick over the ground.

You have to manage James as well, he's in pre-season. You have to be cognisant of that.

Continuity is important. You need energy as well, that comes into the thought process as regards selection. We want to have a closer look at some options as well. Tomorrow's game is important in its own right.

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Kenny also expressed his delight with his side's ability to retain possession in Bulgaria, but did admit that they would have to improve in attacking areas.

It's not something I'm fixated on but we had 91 percent pass completion.

What we need to improve on is more penetrative passes, try and open defences. We've analysed that and looked at our play. That's one area we need to improve on.

The players expressed confidence, it was a confident display. Because Bulgaria didn't press us high or defend with a high line, sometimes you can't utilise the speed you've got in the team.

Space is at a premium when that happens. We've got to work sharper opportunities to utilise the space.

Hopefully that process begins tomorrow.

Gary Connaughton

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