James Horan gives his take on the Aidan O'Shea position enigma

Former Mayo manager on the versatile powerhouse

Aidan O'Shea, Mayo,

Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea and Morgan O’Flaherty of Kildare ©INPHO/James Crombie

Versatility can be both a blessing and a curse and it's often a discussion point as to how Mayo can get the best out of Aidan O'Shea.  

They face Westmeath on Saturday in a qualifier that will be live on Newstalk and O'Shea's former inter-county manager James Horan was on Off The Ball along with Fermanagh boss Pete McGrath to look ahead to that match and the other big games including Donegal vs Cork over the weekend. 

"If you put Aidan O'Shea in the middle of the field, he can boss games. There's no question about that," he said.

"It all depends on a number of things: How many fit and strong midfielders do the team have? So that means they can play them there, that they might be more specialised there, whereas Aidan can play in a number of roles. So for the overall benefit of the team, it might be better to play him at centre-half forward with Tom Parsons and Seamus O'Shea in the middle of the field. Because that adds more to it as opposed to playing Aidan in the middle and say Tom Parsons doesn't start then, you might lose a little bit out in the general sense of the team. So I think they're trying to get that balance right and Aidan wherever he plays is a threat, so if you can get him inside for a while, that keeps defenders guessing."

But finding a stable position is something Horan feels is important for players.

"You need to be careful that you don't become a Jack-of-all-trades and you know you're influence on games can wain because the ball isn't coming into you so you go out to try and get the ball and then when you get out there, the ball is somewhere else. That can happen in games if you keep moving around. So I think they need to try and get that a little bit tighter."

Here's the Newstalk GAA coverage you can look forward to this weekend 

Saturday: Mayo v Westmeath, 6pm Croke Park: Dave on commentary alongside Conor McManus and Emmet Bolton. Mossy Quinn reports from the sideline.

Sunday: Clare v Kerry, 2pm Croke Park: Dave McIntyre on commentary alongside Kieran McGeeney and Anthony Moyles. Mossy Quinn reports from the sideline.