Monday 27 March 2017

John Giles: Martin O'Neill is sending his team out into the unknown in most matches

Martin O'Neill, manager of Republic of Ireland looks on with assistant Roy Keane during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier Group D match between Republic of Ireland and Scotland at Aviva Stadium on June 13, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Martin O'Neill, manager of Republic of Ireland looks on with assistant Roy Keane during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier Group D match between Republic of Ireland and Scotland at Aviva Stadium on June 13, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Independent.ie Newdesk

Irish football legend John Giles has criticised Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill for chopping and changing his team selections from game-to-game.

O'Neill didn't use any recognised wingers in yesterday's 1-1 draw with Scotland and surprised many by picking Daryl Murphy up front ahead of Shane Long and Robbie Keane.

Giles has criticised the lack of certainty regarding his starting XIs and says that the lack of consistency is halting Ireland's progress under his tenure.

"I was surprised, at this stage of Martin O'Neill's tenure we shouldn't be surprised by a team," he told Off The Ball on Newstalk.

"Murphy's came from nowhere, I would have had (Stephen) Quinn for (Glenn) Whelan, I would have started with (James) McClean, I would definitely have Wes (Hoolahan) in the team and I would have started with (Shane) Long and (Jonathan) Walters but I must say that Murphy did well.

"I thought he was reasonably good against England last week and there is plenty to like about him.

"If you take a breakdown of the team's from all the competitive matches we've played, there a lot of changes in those selections and they were big changes yesterday.

"Brady has proven to be a success at full-back which is a bonus for us. At this stage of the competition, we should be making one or two changes at most.

"He's going into the unknown in most matches.

"I think there is confusion. If you look at the Scottish team, I would say that most of the supporters would pick that team apart from the left winger being left out.

"We're not at that stage but we should be.

"I don't think there has been progress but we have not had the consistency of selection to judge it.

"You couldn't guarantee in the next match that we would go with the team from yesterday to get the consistency we require."

Giles was also critical of the decision to substitute Wes Hoolahan with 17 minutes remaining on the clock.

"Wes Hoolahan was getting on the ball more than anybody else and was the most affective player in the midfield. You can't just knock it from one end of the pitch to the other all the time," he added.

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