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Possible Tactical Alternatives for Ireland

17 October 2010 4,804 views No Comment Written by Michael

With a chance to experiment in next month’s friendly against Norway, and the 2011 Nations Cup next year, there could be a few new faces in the Irish team. Here we look at some possible formations and starting lineups Ireland could field in next year’s Euro 2012 qualifiers, as well as our take on the future Republic of Ireland starting eleven, and even an outlandish go-for-broke set-piece tactic.

Trapattoni’s Starting XI versus Russia

You would imagine that if Doyle and
Lawrence had not picked up injuries
against Russia, that this would also
have been the same starting
eleven that Giovanni Trapattoni
would have selected against Slovakia.

It’s a standard 4-4-2 formation with
two defensive central midfielders,
who will look to close down the
opposition players. In theory,
Ireland would look to utilise both
Lawrence and McGeady on the
wings to create quick attacks,
while having Doyle as a strong
target man up front.

Trap’s possible changes
We all know that Trapattoni isn’t a man
who makes changes immediately, but
following last summer’s friendlies, he
inducted both Sean St. Ledger and Liam
Lawrence into the Irish team for the
last few World Cup qualifying games.

With the friendly to Norway next month to
come, the same could happen to one or two
players who impress him in that game.
He’s hinted at giving games to Jon Walters
and James McCarthy, but with the forward
partnership of Keane and Doyle more or less
set in stone, Walters won’t immediately get
a start in a competitive game.

However, Wigan’s McCarthy has a chance to
shine as he has been this season with his
club. With Green and Whelan
under-performing in both Russia and
Slovakia games, Trapattoni can hardly stick
with their partnership in central midfield.

Manchester City’s Greg Cunningham has not
had a chance to break into his club’s first
team, but is already a squad member for
competitive games and could replace the
ageing Kevin Kilbane.

Ideal Ireland 2011
This is a formation to make the most
of the creativity that we have at our
disposal. In defence, Seamus Coleman
is a very exciting right back who is not
afraid to bomb forward. The one
drawback to the defence is moving
O’Shea over to the less comfortable left
back slot.

For defensive midfielder, Glenn Whelan
just gets in ahead of Gibson, though on
recent performances, and with his greater
passing ability, many could argue the
Man Utd man deserves to be in there.

The great thing about this formation is
that it focuses on our strengths, and lets
our opposition worry about us, rather
than us worrying about them. McCarthy
and McGeady, two players that can cause
a host of problems will be employed in very
much of a free role, assisting Doyle and
dropping back into midfield when needed.
Yes, there is no Robbie Keane, but the day is
soon coming that we can no longer rely on
Robbie. Wrong side of 30, and not getting
first team football is a recipe for disaster
for a striker.

The team of the future
Contains Westwood, who is a keeper who
looks like he is on the cusp of a Premiership
move. Coleman and Wilson have already
tarted to prove themselves in the
Premiership, Duffy is highly regarded at
Everton as is Clark at Aston Villa (thanks
for that Richie Dunne).

Our midfield lynch-pin will be David Meyler.
Before his injury he was setting the
Premiership alight. He broke the distance
covered in a game record, then went out and
broke his record in the very next match. That
is the kind of engine that is essential at
international level. Clifford has been
impressing at underage and reserve level.
Should Clifford not be an option, then Gibson
will be in his prime and hopefully have realised
his potential.

The future could easily be immense
for both McCarthy and McGeady should
they achieve what we all know they
are capable of. Treacy has been very
impressive this season, and one
can only hope he hasn’t runied his
international prospects with his
actions before the Russia game.
He could be a player of real quality
for us in time. Up front we will probably
still be relying on Kevin Doyle. Anthony
Stokes may be up for the job at this
stage also.

Dead Ball Experts

The first thing that you’ll notice about
this formation is the inclusion of Ian
Harte at left back. Many will say he’s
washed up, and long past his Ireland
career. However, if Kevin Kilbane of
Hull City can start every competitive
game for Ireland, then there’s no reason
Reading’s Ian Harte couldn’t too. We all
know about his defensive frailties, but
are they any worse than those of
Kilbane? He’s already scored four goals
this season, and with free kicks as good
as his, he could surely add to his
11 goals in 64 games for Ireland.

Ireland have been dangerous from
free kicks crossed into the box so far
this campaign, as well as from
corners. So having Dunne, O’Shea
and St. Ledger all capable of going
into the box, there is plenty of
firepower from the back. Rory Delap’s
slingshot throw-ins will also add to
this threat, meaning that even a
throw-in just inside the opposition
half can turn into an attack. You
can’t write off Delap as a midfielder
either, he’s kept out Whelan a few
times already for Stoke this season.

Fahey and Lawrence are both capable
of swinging the ball into the box, and
there’s no-one better than Damien
Duff at winning free kicks in dangerous
positions. We all know how good Kevin
Doyle is in the air, and there is
no-one who works harder at club or
international level.
Alongside him is Cillian Sheridan,
currently playing in Bulgaria, and
may be able to unlock Eastern European
(Macedonian) defences, from his
experience there. He’s also six foot four
so the perfect height to get onto a high
ball from a free, corner, or throw in.

Related posts:

  1. Kevin Doyle withdraws from squad ahead of Slovakia match
  2. Player Ratings: Ireland v Russia
  3. Trapattoni: “One or two changes are possible”
  4. Trap delighted with Long and Fahey
  5. Ireland Squad Analysis: Russia & Slovakia

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