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15th Jun 2022

Damien Delaney strikes fair balance with his take on Ireland’s four Nations League games

Luke Jennings

‘We wasted the first two games.’

Damien Delaney gave a fair assessment of the Republic of Ireland’s four Uefa Nations League games, following a 1-1 draw against Ukraine at Lodz, in Poland.

The Boys in Green are in third place on four points in Nations League B Group 1 after Stephen Kenny endured back-to-back defeats at the beginning of their campaign.

They beat Scotland 3-0, to lift spirits and promotion hopes, then drew with a decent Ukraine side in another encouraging 90 minutes.

Damien Delaney Ireland Nations League

Damien Delaney discusses the Stephen Kenny era.

Delaney said there is a balance to be found in Ireland’s system, as being too defensive or attacking has resulted in Kenny’s side dropping points in the past.

The former Crystal Palace defender felt Kenny “is learning on the job” since the Boys and Green had appeared to have turned a corner at the end of their 2022 World Cup campaign.

“There’s a happy medium or balance between going gung-ho like the Armenia one and being more compact and solid in games that you are thinking, ‘a draw is not a bad result’,” Delaney said on Virgin Media, following Ireland’s draw.

“But again, the manager has come in and it feels like he is learning on the job.

“We thought we turned a corner at the back end of the World Cup qualifying campaign when we thought he had that nice system.”

Damien Delaney Ireland Nations League

Delaney claims Ireland ‘wasted the first two games.’

Delaney made the point that a two-man midfield formation is a system that doesn’t work at “any level of football,” when up against a three-man midfield.

The 40-year-old reflected on Ireland’s “fair result” against Ukraine, however, Delaney suggested the Boys in Green ‘wasted the first two games.’

“But you cannot play two midfielders at any level of football especially when their opposition players are playing three in there. You cannot do it,” Delaney added.

“We thought learned that lesson, and we did it again. We thought we learned that lesson. It was an OK performance against Ukraine, an even game and it was probably a fair result.

“We wasted the first two (games).”

Damien Delaney Ireland Nations League

Ireland’s next Nations League game is against Scotland at Hampden Park on September 24.

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