Ireland's poor plays starts with the three-man defence 9 months ago

Ireland's poor plays starts with the three-man defence

The Republic of Ireland played out another drab and dire 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland on Thursday night.

31,241 turned out at the Aviva Stadium to watch Northern Ireland outplay an Irish side that now has just one win from their last 10 matches.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill is under increasing pressure to retain his role with the national side and his deployment of a back three featuring Shane Duffy, John Egan and Darragh Lenihan is facing scrutiny, not so much for the personnel selected, but rather their lack of direction.

Former Ireland international Keith Andrews said that the boys in green were way too pedestrian while in possession

"I was glad it was a back three because I'm sick of the chopping and changing between the systems," Andrews said on Virgin Media Sport.

"I think John Egan is someone should be in and around it. He's a player I like. He plays very well for Sheffield United. Lenihan came in and between them this was their sixth cap. It's very, very difficult to come in and if I use one of Seamus' [Coleman] comments of 'making the angles', making life easier for yourself'.

"Shane Duffy is at the heart of the back three, John Egan to the left hand side, Darragh Lenihan to the right.

"Northern Ireland put a bit of pressure on and can [Lenihan] drop into the area to receive possession, no he can't, and the distribution is not quite there. Seamus Coleman is in too high of a position.

 

"Coleman is on the ball and the options are not quite there because the front two haven't worked together.

"Eventually he checks back out because Seamus is a good player he has the ability to do that. Jeff Hendrick recycles possession and as it comes across to the left-hand side it's slow, it's pedestrian, there's no real plan of how we're getting from A to B.

"Again, can Seamus drop to make that angle easier for Darragh Lenihan? Our midfield three are all pedestrian and not running beyond to work that midfield of Northern Ireland and really disrupt to it and make the passing option either."

 

Former Ireland manager Brian Kerr praised goalkeeper Darren Randolph as Ireland's best player but lamented that Ireland were outplayed in all aspects.

"Our goalkeeper was our best player in the match, but there wasn't one other performance you could take much solace from," he said.

"The midfield - they rarely had the ball and they never strung three or four passes together, we were outplayed everywhere on the pitch," he said.