Tuesday 11 December 2018

Richard Dunne hails Ireland new-boy Declan Rice as he questions Martin O'Neill's defensive plan

Declan Rice prior to the International Friendly match between Turkey and Republic of Ireland at Antalya Stadium in Antalya, Turkey
Declan Rice prior to the International Friendly match between Turkey and Republic of Ireland at Antalya Stadium in Antalya, Turkey
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Former Republic of Ireland Richard Dunne believes international debutant Declan Rice could be a 'huge plus for Ireland' in the next few years.

Dunne was a pillar of strength at the back for Ireland in his extended international career and Ireland have lacked a powerhouse leader of his ilk at the heart of the defence since his retirement.

Rice made his senior international debut against Turkey on Friday night and Dunne is hoping West Ham starlet Rice can fulfill his potential and become an Ireland regular:

"I went to the game when the under-21s played in midfield and he just dominated the game," stated Dunne on RTE.

"He's got energy, his passing was excellent and he wins tackles. Higher up the field, he has got an eye for a pass and he is that good he can't be a centre-half. He has so much to offer going forward. He could be a huge, huge plus for Ireland."

Meanwhile, Dunne suggested Ireland boss Martin O'Neill had taken a big gamble by reverted to a back three for the game in Atalya, as he suggested it was a formation that takes time to perfect.

"I think the three at the back is a difficult one," he added. "It's not a formation that you just decide to play, you have to work really hard on it. We've got the players to play a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2.

"If you are on either side in that back three, you have a lot of space to cover. It can be difficult and I think in the long-run. He (O'Neill)  wants this to work, but when it comes down to it, we will go back to a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1, so I don't see why we try this."

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