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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 15 April 2021
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Martin O'Neill praises Irish performance, Robbie Brady

The Ireland manager reserved particular praise for Robbie Brady at left-back today.

Martin O'Neill:
Martin O'Neill: "We started off brightly in the game and could have scored a couple of goals."
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

IRELAND MANAGER MARTIN O’Neill was satisfied overall with Ireland’s performance against rivals England today, saying the game was “exactly what we needed”.

In a match where scoring chances for both sides were few and far between, O’Neill commended his players for their efforts at the Aviva Stadium in a warm-up for their all-important Euro 2016 qualifier with Scotland next week.

“In the last 15 minutes, we looked tired, but we started off brightly in the game and could have scored a couple of goals.

“The overall picture was good and from a physical viewpoint, it couldn’t have been better timed.

“We asked the players to give us some problems between now and Saturday

“It’s the last opportunity [to impress] and it was a very good response.”

O’Neill also revealed he was hoping to introduce Norwich’s Wes Hoolahan to the action, as Ireland struggled in attack without the diminutive midfielder’s creativity, while he added that he was aiming to play a fluid formation with Daryl Murphy and David McGoldrick in attack, rather than a straight 4-4-2.

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“I was hoping to get Wes Hoolahan on the field, but we had run out of substitutes.

“We had McGoldrick and Murphy, who are together at Ipswich. Mostly, McGoldrick can drop into the hole, but sometimes it works the other way at club level.

“Most teams at international level have someone who plays off the forward, so I don’t think it was ever strict a 4-4-2.”

O’Neill also suggested “set pieces were better today than against Poland,” while he reserved praise for Robbie Brady at left-back.

“I never see [playing Brady there] as a major problem. He dealt with it well defensively today, and he was up against a very good player. His strength is probably getting forward and he has a great delivery, but I was very impressed with the other aspects of his game and I think he can probably improve even more.”

The Ireland manager also indicated knocks picked up by Jon Walters and John O’Shea were unlikely to be serious concerns, and confirmed that striker Robbie Keane would link up with the squad tomorrow afternoon.

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Paul Fennessy

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