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John Giles explains why Aiden McGeady should start ahead of James McCarthy


John Giles, inset, wants Aiden McGeady to start against Wales

John Giles, inset, wants Aiden McGeady to start against Wales

John Giles, inset, wants Aiden McGeady to start against Wales

Irish legend John Giles believes Martin O'Neill will change his formation for tomorrow's crucial Group D World Cup qualifier with Wales at the Aviva Stadium.

Ireland have tended to play with Shane Long as a lone striker in the campaign to date, but given the level of injuries, Giles is expecting a rethink.

Much has been made in recent days about James McCarthy's fitness but the former Ireland boss is not expecting the Glsagow-born Everton midfielder to be named in O'Neill's starting XI.

Giles would play Glenn Whelan, Jeff Hendrick, Aiden McGeady and James McClean in midfield with Jon Walters and Shane Long up front.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Whelan, McGeady, Hendrick and McClean are the midfield. I think McCarthy is a big gamble at the moment," he told Off The Ball on Newstalk.

"He hasn't played much at all recently.

"All of those players are playing quite regularly at this particular time.

"McCarthy hasn't had much playing time at all in recent times and it's not as if McCarthy has been a great player for Ireland to be honest.

"I've never been a McCarthy fan. (Robbie) Brady is a loss because Brady would be in that team.

"If (Wes) Hoolahan was there, I'm not sure he would be in the team.

"I'd be inclined to go with that midfield."

He added: "He (David Meyler) could come into the running as well. It depends on what he is going to do with Shane Long.

"Is he going to be a lone striker or is Walters going to play as a midfield player?

"We haven't played with two up front in recent times but I'd be inclined to play the two of them up front."

In his column in The Herald yesterday, Giles downplayed the pedigree of some of the Welsh players, stating that Bale "has a bit to go before I would call him a great player" and Aaron Ramsey only "thinks he’s a great player but isn’t". Coleman dismissed this with humour.

“I must be hell of a manager then. I'm happy with those comments because it makes me look good."

Speaking tonight (Thursday), Giles claimed the best way to negate Bale's influence was to deprive the Welsh wizard of the ball.

"The best way of stopping Bale is to have the ball," he said.

"There is only one ball on the pitch and if we can control the ball and get more possession of the ball, then that is the best way of stopping the opposition.

"You are not going to be able to do that for 90 minutes but you've still got to concentrate on your own game."

Online Editors