Football

Watch: Sutton Takes Issue With One Common O'Neill Criticism In Ardent Defence

Watch: Sutton Takes Issue With One Common O'Neill Criticism In Ardent Defence

Former Celtic player Chris Sutton has launched a vivid defence of Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill.

Sutton was speaking prior to Ireland's home UEFA Nations League tie against Wales. The Englishman spent six years at Celtic, the majority of which was spent under O'Neill's reign. O'Neill delivered Scottish Premier Leagues and a UEFA Cup Runners-up medal while at the Glasgow club and Sutton claimed his management has been misrepresented in parts.

Sutton spoke on Virgin Media Sport. When asked about O'Neill's reputation for not 'coaching' teams tactically, he claimed he never experienced this: "I take issue with the point, I've heard this a few times, that players aren't coached. I played under Martin for four years, I never stepped across the white line and didn't know what my role was."

While Sutton is certainly well placed to speak of his own individual experience, other players have outlined a different experience that included not knowing the team or formation until an hour before kick-off. Craig Bellamy told Sky Sports last year that playing under O'Neill involved "no information whatsoever."

There were times you would turn up on a Friday, and you wouldn't know what formation you're playing on a Saturday, he'd just read a list, and I'd have to look at Neil Lennon and ask: 'What formation are we playing?'

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In 2014, Aidan McGeady said he did not learn he was to play through the centre for the Germany 1-1 draw until just before the game. Cyrus Christie, who played centre midfield during Ireland's 0-0 draw against Denmark last week, said similar.

Sutton did also point out that O'Neill is working with limited potential and pointed out "they (Ireland) do not have creativity."

If O'Neill is to rekindle this Irish team, a result tonight is crucial. Should Ireland lose their seeding for the upcoming European Championship qualifying draw will be affected.

SEE ALSO: 'I Wanted Them To Lose' - World Cup Win Hit Laurent Koscielny Hard

Maurice Brosnan

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