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Do you agree with our Ireland team to face Luxembourg?

Stephen Kenny has a few tough calls to make.

The Irish team (file pic).
The Irish team (file pic).
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Updated Nov 13th 2021, 9:36 PM

Goalkeeper/defence

Three of the four places are more or less certain here barring any late injuries.

Gavin Bazunu, Shane Duffy and John Egan should start, as they did against Portugal.

The only question mark is over the third centre-back spot.

Seamus Coleman played well against Portugal, but there has been a suggestion in recent days that playing two matches in a short space of time is a struggle for the 33-year-old Everton defender.

Stephen Kenny expressed optimism in his pre-match press conference that Andrew Omobamidele should be fit to play, and if that is the case, the Norwich youngster could slot back into the three-man backline.

Alternatively, if he is not available, a dead rubber against Luxembourg could be the ideal time to give Burnley youngster Nathan Collins his competitive international debut.

Wing-backs

Again, assuming Seamus Coleman is unavailable, Matt Doherty will probably feature on the right once more after often looking like Ireland’s best-attacking outlet against Portugal.

On the other side, Enda Stevens did okay against Portugal, though Kenny might be tempted to play James McClean, given that he arguably poses the bigger attacking threat than the Sheffield United man.

Midfield

Jeff Hendrick and Josh Cullen both had decent games against Portugal and will be odds-on to start again.

Yet against a team Ireland will be expected to beat, Kenny may be tempted to start the more creative but perhaps less defensively sound option than Cullen in Conor Hourihane.

Hourihane impressed when handed a start in the 4-0 win over Qatar, while he also replaced Hendrick in the 78th minute against Portugal.

The fact that Hendrick hasn’t started a Premier League match all season could also play into Kenny’s thinking, as going from limited game time to two matches in the space of three days is a big ask.

Jason Knight and Alan Browne are also decent options if Kenny seeks to freshen things up in midfield.

Attack

It will be interesting to see to what extent, if at all, Kenny makes changes in this area of the pitch.

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Chiedozie Ogbene, Callum Robinson and Jamie McGrath all did relatively well against Portugal.

However, Kenny may feel a different approach is required against ostensibly weaker and certainly more defensive-minded opposition.

The Ireland boss may feel a more natural striker is needed, which would put Adam Idah in the frame to start.

Jamie McGrath impressed with his work rate and pressing against Portugal, but he may be the one to make way on this occasion.

Robinson is hard to drop after his recent run of five goals in two games, while Ogbene looked really impressive at times on Thursday, with his pace and power causing the Portuguese defence plenty of problems.

That said, with Luxembourg likely to push fewer bodies forward than Portugal, there probably won’t be as much space in behind to exploit.

startingeleven (4)

 Republic of Ireland Squad – Luxembourg

Goalkeepers: Caoimhin Kelleher (Liverpool), Gavin Bazunu (Portsmouth, on loan from Manchester City), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth).
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Manning (Swansea City), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), James McClean (Wigan Athletic), Shane Duffy (Brighton and Hove Albion), John Egan (Sheffield United), Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City), Nathan Collins (Burnley).
Midfielders: Conor Hourihane (Sheffield United, on loan from Aston Villa), Josh Cullen (Anderlecht), Jeff Hendrick (Newcastle United), Jason Knight (Derby County), Alan Browne (Preston North End), Jamie McGrath (St. Mirren), Jack Taylor (Peterborough United).
Forwards: Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion), Troy Parrott (MK Dons, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Idah (Norwich City), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Will Keane (Wigan Athletic), Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United), Daryl Horgan (Wycombe Wanderers). 

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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