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How the English media assessed Ireland's performance last night

The displays of Seamus Coleman and Shane Long were singled out for praise.

Shane Long celebrates after the game.
Shane Long celebrates after the game.

THE VAST MAJORITY of the English media praised Ireland’s performance on Wednesday night.

Writing in The Guardian, David Hytner highlighted Ireland’s relatively seamless transition, and their ability to incorporate promising young players into the side in recent times.

“Only John O’Shea, Glenn Whelan, Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane have remained as first choices, with the new faces fighting for prominence. This was a stage for the likes of Coleman and James McCarthy to make strides and the marauding Coleman certainly caught the eye. McCarthy flickered, his composure in tight spaces marking him out.”

In the same paper, Dominic Fifield singled out the performance of Shane Long, writing: “This is a striker capable of brilliance but whose industry tends to catch the eye instead, his ability to retain possession and run the channels so vital for club and country. A tally of 12 goals for Albion this term feels rather meagre when considered in the light of that glorious leap and flick.”

Mark Ogden in the Telegraph, meanwhile, highlighted Seamus Coleman as Ireland’s best player, writing that Coleman “delivered a perfect cross for Long to open the scoring on 13 minutes and followed that up by persistently troubling England down the right. Strong defensively, too.”

Henry Winter, meanwhile, cast faint praise on both teams, claiming:

“On the pitch, there was a lack of imagination, a failure to take control and really punish opponents stocked with good but hardly world-renowned players.”

The Daily Mail, on the other hand, takes a slightly less deferential tone towards Trap’s side.

The headline of Martin Samuel’s article makes reference to Lampard “saving England’s blushes”. In addition, Samuel calls the result a “mediocre draw”.

He also implied the Irish side paled in comparison to Jack Charlton-led teams of the past: “Ireland are not the power of old, or even much of a banana skin, but they handled England with surprising assurance for much of the game, took the lead, and deserved their draw. Forget the guff about it meaning more to the visitors. It should not.”

Shaun Custis, similarly, pointed to the weaknesses of the Ireland team, indicating they had “four players who are set for Championship football next season,” and agreed with Samuel’s contention, arguing that “this Irish team was not a patch on some of their previous great sides”.

Yet the biggest compliment of the night was reserved for Seamus Coleman, with Martin Lipton of the Mirror writing: “Yet neither of the two right-backs wearing white, Glen Johnson or Phil Jones, was a patch on Ireland’s Everton star Seamus Coleman.”

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Paul Fennessy

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