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'I kept hearing about style of play - Ireland have performed the same way since I've been alive'

Darren O’Dea joined Close Calls to give his thoughts on Martin O’Neill’s new contract, team selection, and Ireland’s final qualifiers.

DARREN O’DEA called for calm heads to prevail – on the pitch, in the stands, and in the media – as Ireland prepare for their final World Cup qualifiers.

Martin O’Neill’s side face two make-or-break games on the Road to Russia, starting this evening when they host Moldova in the Aviva Stadium (7.45pm) before a crunch clash with Wales on Monday.

The Boys in Green know that they will likely need to finish the campaign with two wins to have any chance of finishing as Group D runners-up and taking one of the eight playoff places.

One point from a possible six against Georgia and Serbia left month have left qualification hopes hanging by a thread, but speaking on Close Calls, O’Dea said that the overreaction to Ireland’s performances was ‘annoying’.

“I was very outspoken after the last round of fixtures,” the 20-cap international said. “The outcry and the criticism was crazy.

“We’ve kinda gotten through the group but not in style. We very rarely play with style.

“When we get these big wins, people are all on the bandwagon and don’t ever look at the performance, but when we don’t get results, we’ve this talk that we need new players, we need new management, we need a new style of play.

I kept hearing [about] style of play – Ireland have performed the same way since I’ve been alive. Jack Charlton, Mick McCarthy, Trapattoni, Martin O’Neill – there’s your four most successful Ireland managers since I’ve been alive and they all play the same way: direct football, fast pace, in your face, get after them, type of football, not playing from the back.

“All of a sudden we lose a game and [people say] we don’t keep enough possession of the ball.

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“The last round of fixtures annoyed me, and it’s not the media, it’s the fans as well, it’s everyone. There was a real drama after the last set of results, so I think it’s time for calm heads.”

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