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The Ireland Team That Should Start Tonight Based On Current Form

The Ireland Team That Should Start Tonight Based On Current Form
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Irish football is not in a good place at the moment. While it can be easy to read too much into a friendly match, the performance against Northern Ireland summed up the current Ireland team. Martin O'Neill's side were devoid of any attacking threat, while also looking less than assured in defence.

It is a theme that has repeated itself for over a year now, and it shows little sign of changing. In fact, our problems seem to be worsening. Tonight's game against Denmark is a dead rubber one, we have already been relegated to League 'C' of the UEFA Nations League while our hosts have been promoted.

So who should start the game in Aarhus?

For the last number of weeks we have been tracking the form of Irish players based in England, and some of our top performers may surprise you. Form is important, and we have continued to select players who are not performing far too often in recent years. This is the team that should start tonight against Denmark based on our players' form at their clubs.

Remember, this team is based solely on current form, and only players that have made the trip to Denmark were considered.

Formation: 3-5-2

Martin O'Neill has favoured the 3-5-2 formation over the last number of games, and he is likely to persist with it tonight. While a case could be made to change things up a bit, it might not be the worst idea to try and get the players used to playing in a particular system.


Goalkeeper: Darren Randolph

This one isn't really close. Randolph has been in fantastic form for Middlesbrough over the last few weeks, with a couple of man-of-the-match performances under his belt. He has kept the most clean sheets in the Championship this season, and no other Irish goalkeeper is close to him at the moment.

Right Wing-Back: Seamus Coleman


Matt Doherty would have been granted this spot were he fit, but Coleman has been in decent form himself as of late. He has been an excellent attacking outlet for Everton recently, even if his defending has been somewhat suspect.

His recent defensive deficiencies should be covered by the three centre backs, and we all know Coleman can be a real threat going forward.

Back Three: Richard Keogh, Shane Duffy, Darragh Lenihan


Lenihan was poor against Northern Ireland, but he has been in superb form for Blackburn. He scored the winner against Leeds a few weeks back, and has generally been a rock at the back for an improving Blackburn side. With the nerves out of the way after his first start, he deserves another chance in this Irish team.

Shane Duffy meanwhile has been the best Irish performer in England, with his performances for Brighton earning him rave reviews. He is perhaps the first name on the team sheet for both club and country at the moment.

Richard Keogh is a solid third option, and earns the nod ahead of Kevin Long due to his regular playing time.


Left Wing-Back: Enda Stevens

Sheffield United continue to perform incredibly well in the Championship, and Enda Stevens has been one of the main reasons why. He surely deserves a chance in the Irish starting line-up, especially considering left-back has been a major problem position in recent times.

Midfield Three: Harry Arter, Conor Hourihane, Robbie Brady


Harry Arter has been playing incredibly well for Cardiff, despite missing a couple of games via injury and suspension.

Believe it or not, Ryan Manning and Richie Towell have been the next best performing midfielders over the last few weeks. They have formed an excellent partnership at Rotherham, but neither have travelled to Denmark for this game.

That leaves Robbie Brady and Conor Hourihane as next in line, both of whom have played well in patches. Brady is still working his way back from injury, but has been solid in his limited appearances for Burnley.


Jeff Hendrick has been a disaster as of late, and surely different midfield options need to be tested out.

Strikers: Ronan Curtis, Callum Robinson

These two are easily the most in-form forwards Ireland have at the moment. Callum Robinson has been performing incredibly well for Preston, and has looked a real threat up front whenever he has played for Ireland.

Ronan Curtis has been nothing short of a revelation for Portsmouth this season, consistently being rated as their best player by local media outlets. We know he has only been doing it at League 1 level, but he has been the best player on the best team in the league. He deserves a chance at international level, there is no point in waiting for Portsmouth's inevitable promotion to the Championship before he is deemed worthy of a place in the team.

This partnership should provide plenty of pace and penetration up top, something Ireland have sorely lacked.

The Team In Full:

ireland team

SEE ALSO: BBC Apologise After Seamus Coleman Sean Cox Donation Tweet


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