Sport Soccer

Sunday 24 September 2017

Ireland v Latvia - Player ratings

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Player ratings from last night's 3-0 victory over Latvia at the Aviva

KEIREN WESTWOOD (6)

Struggled to get a look in under O'Neill at Sunderland with Simon Mignolet preferred, but he got the nod ahead of David Forde here. The nature of the game made it difficult for him to impress, however, with Latvia a modest side that posed little or no threat to the netminder.

SEAMUS COLEMAN (7)

Considering the amount of Irish possession, Coleman was surprisingly quiet in the first half with a lot of Irish activity channelled down the left flank. He made up for it with an energetic second-half display, capped by a wonderful run and cross for the third goal.

STEPHEN WARD (6)

His last Irish appearance had come in last November's friendly with Greece so this selection was a boost for the Dubliner, who was given the licence to cross the half-way line and a smart break nearly created another goal for Keane. Can be happy with his contribution.

JOHN O'SHEA (6)

This was a relatively routine exercise for the experienced Waterford man on the occasion of his 93rd cap. Latvia barely probed and, when they did, they were met by a solid Irish rearguard, which gave little away and didn't really let a maroon shirt behind them.

MARC WILSON (6)

The new Mr Versatile of the Irish camp adjusted to a centre-half brief although, similarly to Westwood, the quality of opponent made it hard to gauge his effectiveness. Long-term, his future lies in a central position, although he might argue that midfield is better suited to his qualities.

GLENN WHELAN (7)

The Stoke man has always argued that he would be better suited to a different style of play. Aside from one lapse in concentration after the interval which a better team might have punished on the counter, he was effective and his pressing led to the second goal.

AIDEN MCGEADY (8)

The development of McGeady in this regime will be fascinating as he is a player that both O'Neill and Keane rate highly. A livewire throughout with management encouraging him to cut inside from the right wing and he finished a fine night with his third international goal.

JAMES MCCARTHY (7)

Has been encouraged to add goals to his game and took aim twice in the first half, with O'Shea thwarting one fine attempt. The Everton man is a quality player and seemed to enjoy his responsibility within this system, pressing forward to support the attack from the outset.

WES HOOLAHAN (7)

After a disappointing period at Norwich, this was a welcome pick-me-up for the playmaker and he was given ample time to showcase his strengths as he enjoyed plenty of time on the ball. Given a positive mention by Keane on Wednesday so fair to assume he will get more airtime going forward.

ROBBIE KEANE (7)

Some things never change; Keane is still Ireland's sharpest mind around the penalty area and his first-half strike was a trademark effort. He might have grabbed a couple more, although he had been withdrawn by the time the game really opened up.

JAMES MCCLEAN (8)

The new appointments will have delighted the Derryman and he looked back to his Sunderland best, albeit against limited opposition, as his direct running posed problems and he also assisted Keane's opener. In truth, the only downside was poor shooting with his right foot.

MARTIN O'NEILL (7)

Will be happy with the manner of the victory on a night where he selected an attack-minded side and rotated the offensive options at his disposal. Managed to give Hoolahan room to breathe and utilise the strengths of McGeady and McClean. Harder tests lie ahead, though.

SHANE LONG (7)

(for Hoolahan 73 minutes)

In the right place to convert from close range and should see more action in Poland.

ANDY REID (7)

(for McGeady 73 mins)

Nearly scored a couple and set wheels in motion for third goal.

JON WALTERS (7)

(For Keane 73 mins)

Put himself about and also played a supporting role in Long's strike.

PAUL GREEN

(for Whelan 80 mins)

Not on long enough to rate.

ANTHONY STOKES

(for McClean 80 mins)

Not on long enough to rate

KEVIN DOYLE

(for McCarthy 80 mins)

Not on long enough to rate

Irish Independent

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