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Dublin: 8 °C Wednesday 12 December, 2018
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Martin O'Neill praises 'brilliant' debutant Cyrus Christie

The Derby County right-back had a solid outing on his first appearance at right-back.

Cyrus Christie of Ireland with Timmy Chandler of USA.
Cyrus Christie of Ireland with Timmy Chandler of USA.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

MARTIN O’NEILL EXPRESSED satisfaction with Ireland’s comprehensive 4-1 friendly win against USA at the Aviva Stadium tonight.

O’Neill highlighted several “excellent individual performances” and singled out Derby right-back Cyrus Christie as having a particularly good game.

“He had a lot to live up to after Seamus [Coleman], but he had a brilliant debut,” O’Neill told Setanta Sports.

“I’ve seen a lot of him in the last few months. He was nervous and made a few mistakes early on, but I thought he was particularly excellent in the second half.”

And asked whether Christie could force his way into the team for competitive internationals, O’Neill said: “At some stage, I might think about playing 3-5-2 — Seamus and Cyrus can do that.”

The manager added that he was especially impressed with Ireland’s second-half performance, but played down the significance of the result.

“The matches that concern me are the ones at competitive level,” he said. “These [friendly] matches are immaterial.”

Meanwhile, man-of-the-match Robbie Brady, who scored a brace, was candid in his assessment of the spectacular free-kick he scored late on. 

“I’ve been hitting them 10 and 20 yards over the bar in training all week,” he admitted.

The Hull City man was relieved Ireland bounced back from their disappointing 1-0 loss to Scotland on Friday, and also said he was happy to play in the somewhat unfamiliar position of left-back.

“It was a disappointing result the other night, but we’ve got some good points in the group so far, and hopefully we can capitalise again in a few months.

“It’s a good 90 minutes under my belt, I’ve been playing left wing-back at Hull, so it’s not too different.”

He also reserved special praise for debutants David McGoldrick and Cyrus Christie.

“The two boys were excellent — I’ve been watching them all week in training and they’re top lads.”

Player ratings: How the Boys in Green fared against America>

McGoldrick and Pilkington combine brilliantly for Ireland’s first goal of the evening>

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Paul Fennessy

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