Monday 11 December 2017

Ronnie Whelan: Without Wes Hoolahan Ireland are very ordinary

Ireland's Wes Hoolahan in action with Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski
Ireland's Wes Hoolahan in action with Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski

Herald Sport

If we are honest, Ireland never got close to getting the result they needed in Warsaw last night. It was a poor performance and we got what we deserved.

The key to a such a tame effort was the absence of Wes Hoolahan. Everything we saw against Germany revolved around his dynamic presence on the ball and when he wasn't named in the team, I feared the worst.

What we got was a return to the disjointed and shapeless performances we saw early in the group.

There was little or no creativity on show with Robbie Brady returned to his full-back slot and Hoolahan on the bench.

When Hoolahan eventually came on, it was too late to do anything and Robbie Keane fared no better as a late impact sub.

Perhaps we were all a bit giddy after beating Germany but I expected better. I expected the momentum and confidence they got from that win to really help them against Poland.

If we didn't know it already, it is now impossible to escape the conclusion that without Hoolahan, Ireland are a very ordinary team.

Great battlers but very little else to bring to the table against a decent Polish team

If you want to sum it up in a sentence, they had Lewandowski and we had Shane Long and Robbie Keane.

But we're still in it and hopefully by the time the play-offs roll around, Hoolahan will be fully fit and ready to play.

We won't have John O'Shea for at least one of the games because of his red card and that is a big blow.

But let's keep hoping and between now and November, a few prayers wouldn't go amiss.

Herald Sport

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