What should Ireland's starting XI be for tomorrow's Euro 2016 play-off first leg?

Martin O’Neill’s side are away to Bosnia-Herzegovina as they look to secure a place at next year’s finals in France.

The Ireland team This was the starting line-up in Ireland's last game against Poland. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Ben Blake reports from Bosnia-Herzegovina

A COMBINATION OF injuries and suspensions has left Ireland manager Martin O’Neill less than a full deck to choose from for their Euro 2016 play-off first leg in Zenica.

Bosnia-Herzegovina are the opponents tomorrow night and, as well as first choice starters Shay Given, John O’Shea and Jon Walters all missing, Shane Long, the hero on a couple of occasions during this campaign, has remained at his club due to an ankle injury.

Elsewhere, back-up goalkeepers Rob Elliot and Keiren Westwood won’t feature and Paul McShane is also absent.

Hull City David Meyler remains a doubt too, although we should know more after the squad’s final training session in the Bilino Polje Stadium, tonight.

As it stands, here’s who I’d like to see line out tomorrow night:

Darron Randolph deserves his another chance in goal after his performances against Germany and Poland.

Seamus Coleman picks himself at right back, and a central defensive partnership of Ciaran Clark and Richard Keogh would allow Marc Wilson to slot in at full-back.

That would give us more solidity than Wilson at centre-half and either Robbie Brady or Stephen Ward in the back four in my opinion, while also making the most of Brady’s attacking threat further up the field.

Glenn Whelan has come under more criticism recently but a midfield duo of the Stoke City man and James McCarthy looks our best bet with the interchangeable trio of Brady, Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick getting on the ball as much as possible in the opposing half in order to create chances.

He may not have a single international goal to his name after 17 caps, but Daryl Murphy represents a far greater physical threat to the Bosnian defence than our record goalscorer Robbie Keane at present, so should be preferred in the lone striker role with Walters and Long both unavailable.

What are they
really like?

Rare insights on sport's biggest names from the writers who know them best. Listen to Behind the Lines podcast.

Become a Member

startingeleven Source:

Injured: Shay Given, Keiren Westwood, Rob Elliot,  Paul McShane, Shane Long.

Suspended: John O’Shea, Jon Walters.

Do you agree/disagree with the selection? Let us know in the comments section below

Who is the man planning to dash Ireland’s Euro 2016 dreams and how did he rescue Bosnia’s chances?

Letter from Sarajevo: The logistical nightmare of Ireland’s Euro 2016 play-off

About the author:

Ben Blake

Read next: