Football

This Window Should Give Us A Clear Picture Of Kenny's Attacking Intentions

This Window Should Give Us A Clear Picture Of Kenny's Attacking Intentions

If there was one problem that dominated the early period of the Stephen Kenny era, it was the continued absence of players. Be it through injury or covid issues, it seemed that every international window was plagued by a huge number of withdrawals from the squad.

That issue has eased somewhat since the turn of the year, although it has not disappeared altogether. This is especially true in attacking areas.

Be it the absence of Callum Robinson, Aaron Connolly, Chiedozie Ogbene, or another forward player, it seems as though Kenny never has a full deck to choose from that in that area of the pitch.

That will change this month. The players mentioned above, along with the likes of James Collins, Will Keane, Adam Idah, Troy Parrott, and Daryl Horgan are all set to be available for the fixtures against Azerbaijan and Qatar.

Kenny has used a number of different systems in recent games. The tie in Portugal saw a 3-4-1-2 used, the game against Azerbaijan a few days later was more of a 3-4-3, while 3-4-2-1 was employed against the Serbs.

It is difficult to say which one of those best suited Ireland, although the upcoming fixtures should give us an idea as to what way the manager is leaning.

Advertisement

For the first time in quite a while, he will have his full attacking compliment to select from. It will be interesting to see the way in which they are deployed.

Chiedozie Ogbene is somebody Kenny views as bringing something completely in comparison to the other players in the squad. His type of genuine explosive pace is something that Ireland have not had too often in the past, perhaps adding a different dimension in the final third.

Adam Idah provides a real focal point in attack, one that can also stretch the opposition defence. In Callum Robinson we have somebody that possesses close control, a player that can do something Ireland have so often failed to do in creating space in tight areas.

Troy Parrott can play in a number of different positions, as can Aaron Connolly. James Collins and Will Keane are what you would consider as more traditional 'number nines', although the latter of those has played in a more withdrawn role at club level in recent times.

The likes of Daryl Horgan, James McClean, Jason Knight, and Jamie McGrath are also options to play in a front three if desired.

Advertisement

How Stephen Kenny opts to mix and match these various options over the next two fixtures will be telling. One would hope that last month, one in which he used three different attacking systems, provided a clearer picture as to what works best for this squad.

After having so much upheaval since taking the job, you'd imagine the manager will now look to implement some sort of continuity now that he has the opportunity to do so.

Adam Idah looks like a certainty to start in Baku. He really came of age last month, providing the type of complete performances that Kenny craves from his central strikers. Callum Robinson is another one you would expect to see in the team, he likely would have been first choice last month were it not for his covid issues.

Who else features could largely be dictated by the system that is used.

Should wingers be employed, it would be no surprised to see Ogbene in the starting XI. As mentioned above, the Ireland boss has previously said he sees the Rotherham winger as an outlier in his squad:

He is very, vary fast powerful right winger. We don't have that type of player in the squad, he is different to what we have got.

He's very quick and was very influential in Rotherham getting promoted to the Championship. Unfortunately he has been injured for a lot of the year, he had an injury that kept him out for five months.

Connolly and Parrott are likely to be the other options, with the MK Dons man possessing the ability to play in a 'number ten' role.

In short, Ireland have options. It is not something that has always been the case.

Stephen Kenny's selections this month could give us a good idea as to how he sees this team shaping up moving forward.

SEE ALSO: Here's The Exciting Ireland Team We Want To See Against Azerbaijan

Robbie Brady

Gary Connaughton

You may also like