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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 17 August, 2019
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Here's what the Ireland starting XI to face Switzerland should be

Martin O’Neill has suggested some new faces will be given a chance tomorrow evening.

Republic of Ireland Squad Training earlier today.
Republic of Ireland Squad Training earlier today.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

1. Rob Elliot: O’Neill has suggested Elliot will start at least one of the upcoming friendly games, and it would be nice to see the Newcastle stopper, the only Irish goalkeeper playing regular Premier League football, given a chance against the Swiss.

2. Seamus Coleman: It’s understood that a number of senior players will start Friday’s match, so Seamus Coleman — very much the first name on the teamsheet usually — could well be one of the individuals in question.

3. Matt Doherty: Doherty is better known as a right-back, but has been appearing regularly for Wolves at left-back this season. With options conspicuously short in that department, it would be interesting to see how the 24-year-old gets on in what would be his first cap at senior level.

4. John O’Shea: Another vastly experienced squad member, O’Shea’s leadership and general presence would be invaluable in helping the younger players adapt to proceedings.

5. Shane Duffy: Duffy has just one cap at senior level so far, but O’Neill has confirmed that, barring injury, he will gain more experience at international level in the coming days. The 24-year-old Derry native has been having a fine season with Blackburn, leading to talk of a Premier League move, and so deserves a chance to impress tomorrow.

6. Jonathan Hayes: With Jeff Hendrick absent through injury, at least one midfield slot will be available for one of the new players to occupy. Hayes is predominantly renowned as a winger, but can play central midfield too, so his trademark pace and strength could be utilised there in the Derby man’s absence.

Robbie Brady Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

7. Robbie Brady: It will be interesting to see whether Brady starts in midfield or defence. The former Man United player was on the right wing for Norwich last week, and most will agree that he’s much better in attack than defence. He impressed in midfield in the home match against Germany, and will be aiming to do the same again against the Swiss tomorrow.

8. James McCarthy: It’s no coincidence that McCarthy’s best performance for Ireland by far came in the famous 1-0 win over Germany at the Aviva Stadium last year. In the absence of Glenn Whelan, the Everton star was allowed play in the sitting midfield role and duly delivered an accomplished display. With the Stoke man not around, the shackles seem to come off, and McCarthy deserves a chance tomorrow to prove that the German game was no one-off.

9. Stephen Gleeson: Gleeson has just two Ireland caps at senior level and hasn’t played for his country since 2007. He will be looking to add to that tally tomorrow night, and could benefit from injuries to fellow midfielders Jeff Hendrick and Harry Arter.

10. Shane Long: Despite most considering Shane Long to be Ireland’s best out-and-out striker, the Tipperary native featured sporadically enough in qualification, starting just two games (away to Scotland and Poland). Consequently, against Swizerland, he deserves a chance to boost his confidence and goal tally before the more important games ahead.

11. Alan Judge: Arguably the standout player in this season’s Championship with 14 goals and nine assists for Brentford, it’s about time Judge gets given a chance to impress in a green jersey.

Formation: 4-1-3-1-1

Elliot

Coleman O’Shea Duffy Doherty

McCarthy

Hayes Gleeson Brady

Judge

Long

Do you agree with our starting XI? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Paul Fennessy

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