The future of Irish football was a talking topic on Thursday’s OTB AM, journalist Johnny Ward and former Republic of Ireland captain Kenny Cunningham discussed the current plight of the senior team and how to best address the issues being experienced as under age levels.
Ireland failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and suffered a humiliating defeat at the final hurdle as they were smashed 5-1 by Denmark in the second leg of the play-off.
Johnny cut a frustrated figure while he touched on O’Neill’s reluctance to implement a passing based style of play. He spoke of his astonishment that Roy Keane, one of the most gifted players ever to don a green shirt, is presiding over a team that struggles to retain possession and gets out-passed in almost every international fixture.
“Can we get away from this fanciful and ridiculous notion that we’re inferior?”
Johnny described O’Neill’s approach to the game as “cave man” stuff, but Kenny did not agree with that summation.
Martin O’Neill direct tactical approach has left some fans frustrated but Cunningham believes that they must make the most of the player’s strengths.
“There’s a big discussion to be had there in terms of football philosophy, your opinion of what good football and mine might be wholly different, I think it would be.
“I don’t buy into this possession based game, getting as many touches as possible that might be relevant at a very young age, 8,9,10 when you’re developing young player’s technical ability, getting plenty of touches is great.
“Once you get to 15, 17, 19 then it’s all about the game, you have to learn the game and understand it so we can organise a team in a way where we can be competitive going forward at those levels.
“I’m saying play a style which best suits the strengths of our players.”