Wednesday 21 February 2018

Andrews: Maguire can offer forward solution

Sean Maguire in action for the Ireland U21s squad against Serbia last year. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Sean Maguire in action for the Ireland U21s squad against Serbia last year. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

In his most desperate hour of need, as if trying to summon up the impact that Wales had demonstrated when flinging on 17-year-old Ben Woodburn against Austria, Martin O'Neill propelled the untested Conor Hourihane into the mix against Serbia.

Like the more celebrated talents surrounding him, he floundered amidst the growing panic.

"You have to play with your head," said an exasperated Martin O'Neill. "James McClean, who I love, a right-foot shot, Conor, a left-footed player with a right-foot shot. Shane Long played a pass into nobody..."

Intelligence is a rare commodity. So are goals. Only the Faroe Islands, Latvia, San Marino and Liechtenstein have scored fewer at home than Ireland, who have scored two goals in four home games, and nine in eight matches overall.

Keith Andrews, after watching Jon Walters and Shane Long toil fruitlessly for 180 minutes this past week, reckons it may be time for Sean Maguire to make an impact.

"His link-up play is very good. You get headlines from scoring goals but then you start analysing people's games and what else they bring to the table.

Pictured at the eir Sport pack season launch was eir Sport soccer analyst Keith Andrews. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Pictured at the eir Sport pack season launch was eir Sport soccer analyst Keith Andrews. Photo: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

"Certainly, at international level and probably even at Championship level, in terms of being physical, if he had to play an out-and-out striking role on his own, it would have to be at a Brentford or a Fulham where they play total football which would suit his style.

"But I think he's very clever in terms of being able to play a 10 or a narrow wide position to get him into the team and up and running at Preston. I'm a big fan of his."

Irish Independent

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