Sunday 22 October 2017

'Raw, inexperienced and embarrassing' - Dunphy criticises defensive pairing and blasts 'wrong' team selection

DUBLIN, IRELAND - JUNE 11: Shane Duffy (L) of Republic of Ireland and Michael Gregoritsch (C) of Austria during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Republic of Ireland and Austria at Aviva Stadium on June 11, 2017 in Dublin. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, IRELAND - JUNE 11: Shane Duffy (L) of Republic of Ireland and Michael Gregoritsch (C) of Austria during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Republic of Ireland and Austria at Aviva Stadium on June 11, 2017 in Dublin. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Eamon Dunphy had some scathing criticism for Martin O'Neill over his team selection as Ireland snatched a late point at home to Austria at the Aviva Stadium this evening.

Jon Walters salvaged a draw for the home side with a brilliant finish five minutes from time, as Ireland finally kicked into gear, but overall the performance was flat as O'Neill's side struggled to mount meaningful attacks until the game's closing moments.

The team selection was significantly debated in the build-up to the game and O'Neill sprung a few surprises, most notably in partnering Kevin Long with Shane Duffy at the heart of the Irish defence.

Speaking on RTE after the game, Dunphy criticised that move, as well as the absence of Wes Hoolahan, who only came on after 70 minutes.

"I'd consider it to be two points lost," the RTÉ soccer analyst said.

"The team selection was wrong, and badly wrong.

"The centre-half pairing between Kevin Long and Shane Duffy, they looked raw, inexperienced, no composure, and when they had the ball at their feet they were embarrassing.

"It would have been much better if Robbie Brady had started at left-back. He's a much better player there. It would have allowed Wes into the team. James McClean then could take up his position as a left-winger. Hendrick wouldn't be playing with his back to goal all the time.

"You have to get everything right when you're a small nation like us and you're trying to get to the World Cup. If you make gross mistakes - and they were gross mistakes - you pay the price. The price you pay today is the loss of two points."

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