Player ratings as Ireland turn in a serious, serious display against Uruguay
I'll tell you what, that was fairly impressive.
You get the impression now that Martin O'Neill has just shifted the squad's gears and they're getting serious again. A week out from the Austria qualifier, Ireland put their underwhelming display against Mexico behind them with a 3-1 win over Uruguay but it was as convincing as they come.
They pressed, they harried, they played with pure energy and buzz in a 4-5-1 formation and the subs, they just made it even better.
Here's how the players got on.
Darren Randolph 4
Came a long way off his line very late and very naively and allowed a tame enough header to loop into the the Irish goals before seemingly looking to blame the defenders.
— eir Sport (@eirSport) June 4, 2017
Cyrus Christie 8
He's playing so well (again) that questions are going to have to be asked when Seamus Coleman comes back. Not whether or not Coleman should play, but how on earth do we fit both of them into the one team.
Shane Duffy 6
Solid, mincing, not much to do. Looked very comfortable.
Kevin Long 7
Good game. Didn't look nervous. Didn't look unsure. Looked like he bloody belonged in that backline. Could be forcing the manager's hand.
Stephen Ward 6.5
As usual, he let little by him down the flank and, as usual, he proved he's the best option for left back.
Robbie Brady 8
Started on the right wing, looked damn dangerous. Moved to the left wing for the second half, everything then went down that channel. Moved inside when Hendrick came on, continued to control proceedings. He's Ireland's go-to man who can make things happen from anywhere. He's intelligent, he's tricky, he has a left foot that could split the Red Sea.
Glenn Whelan 7
Won plenty of ball back, didn't give any ball away and drove forward to set up Jon Walters' first half goal.
Harry Arter 8
Controlled, measured, and he led the team too. Very, very polished in the middle and was rightly awarded the official man of the match.
Jonny Hayes 6
Energetic and willing. Showed himself as an option, darted around the place but didn't really make any inroads going forward.
Jeff Hendrick 6.5
Showed he can play off the striker, showed he can sit deeper in midfield. He's a big presence in the middle and the South Americans couldn't handle his physicality if he wasn't as classy as he can be.
Jon Walters 7
Scored a screamer, missed a sitter but through it all, he was the same, old Jon Walters. Worked tirelessly, offered himself as a battering ram and, when it was called upon, he didn't mind getting back down the field either.
Jon Walters, Ireland's lone front man, sprints to right back to cover for Cyrus Christie pic.twitter.com/zsT51defQz
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) June 4, 2017
Keiren Westwood 7
Wasn't just a great save in the 68th minute, he needed one strong left hand to turn the ball away and deny Uruguay a sure open goal.
— eir Sport (@eirSport) June 4, 2017
Wes Hoolahan 7
Drew ohs and ahs once more from the crowd even if he was guilty of overplaying it a little at times. But that's what he does, isn't it? Because of his risks, Ireland get chances - like the one Christie got for his goal because Hoolahan invited the opposition player into no-man's land with a daringly angled pass.
Aiden McGeady 6
Came on at right wing and tried to make things happen by cutting inside. Had the away side nervous at times.
Alex Pearce 6
The usual dependable display.
Daryl Murphy 8
Carved out a chance for himself with a nothing ball just by bullying the centre half. Looked brilliant under the high ball with his back to goal and his left-footed defence-splitting pass to James McClean for the third goal was simply out of this world.
James McClean 8
He came onto this pitch at Lansdowne Road knowing he was going to score. There was a murmur of excitement as the crowd saw him ready from the bench and he immediately lit up the left wing upon his arrival. His goal was almost a carbon copy of his goal in Austria when he drove forward from the left, and buried with pure conviction. This man is a serious player now.