Friday 9 December 2016

'It is a shocking team, I think it's terrible': Eamon Dunphy slates Martin O'Neill's surprising Ireland selection

Independent.ie SportsDesk

Published 06/10/2016 | 18:33

Despite his very recent recovery from groin surgery, Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has selected James McCarthy in midfield for tonight’s World Cup qualifier against Georgia at the Aviva Stadium.

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McCarthy gets the nod in a midfield that also comprises Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady and James McClean,

In defence, O’Neill has opted against John O’Shea or Richard Keogh, in favour of Ciaran Clark and the returning Shane Duffy at the heart of the rear guard. Seamus Coleman captains the side from right full, with Stephen Ward continuing on the opposite flank.

Darren Randolph continues in goal while, on the face of it, it looks like Jon Walters and Shane Long, each without a goal this season, will spearhead the attack.

The team selection has raised a few eyebrows and Eamon Dunphy, speaking on RTE, was particularly critical, saying that it was 'terrible'.

"My initial reaction is surprise bordering on shock," Dunphy said.

"A new centre half partnership playing in a competitive match for the first time. John O'Shea dropped for reasons I couldn't fathom. No Wes Hoolahan, who would be great on a night like this. James McCarthy played 38 minutes and was taken off for tactical reasons, which means he was benched by Ronald Koeman.

"He has since had an operation and couldn't possibly be fit for international football. It is a shocking team. It was as if they put the names in a hat and pulled them out. It is terrible."

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