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"I'd probably go on the side of making a change" - John Giles' verdict on the Ireland management team


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Ireland and Leeds legend John Giles would know a thing or two about what it takes to function in midfield.

Given that Cyrus Christie was moved from his right-back slot to the heart of unfamiliar midfield for games against Wales and Denmark in the UEFA Nations League, we were curious to know what John made of Martin O'Neill's selection and tactical decisions.

"It  was very risky and it was a bit of a put-down to [Matt] Doherty that Christie was on to look after him a little bit," said John.

"I can't understand that. If you pick a lad for an international match, [Doherty's] played in the Premier League, he's played well and it's difficult to understand. It looked like to me that Martin O'Neill was justifying his position over Christie because he's played him ahead of Doherty and has been quite critical of Doherty.

"When you think of the players on the bench, like Meyler who was captain only last year and wasn't playing. Christie's a good-hearted lad and he did OK. But it's a wing and a prayer. If you put any player in, whether it be full back who hadn't played in that position regularly or hadn't played there since he was 14, you couldn't possibly know what he's going to do. That's why you do preparation."

John added that O'Neill "does this quite a bit" where he throws a tactical curveball towards players. 

O'Neill's future is certainly under the microscope and John feels the timing isn't necessarily right to make a change.

"I think it needs to be reinvigorated but I'm not so sure that it would be the best thing to do to change the management team at this particular time," said John, also adding that if the FAI wanted to make a change, it should have happened immediately after the last qualifiers rather than now in the midst of a Nations League campaign and ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers.

But he did ultimately suggest, "I'm not sure it would be correct at this particular stage to make a change or not. I wouldn't be sure . I'd probably go on the side of making a change."


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