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"How can our best PL player not start?" | Stephen Kelly on Matt Doherty

Eoin Harte
Eoin Harte

11:03 7 Jun 2019

Former Ireland international Stephen Kelly was on OTB AM to talk about whether Matt Doherty will start against Denmark.

Doherty had a great season with Wolves in the Premier League and Kelly agreed that it would be harsh to not start him against the Danes.

“When you look at how Ireland is and the group of players we have, you would say that a player that has arguably been our best Premier League player this season, how can he not start,” Kelly said.

However, Kelly commented that it would it is unlikely Mick McCarthy would start him as he would have to build the team around him.

“If it was Cristiano Ronaldo at centre forward who’s going to score you a hattrick like he did last week, or someone who’s going to score thirty goals, you change the system.

“Are you going to change the system for a right wing back who’s had a very good season in the premiership? I don’t think you’re going to do that. You’re going to have to play to the strength of the team, not to the strength of that one player,” Kelly explained.

With Seamus Coleman embedded in the right back role as the team’s captain, there is a limited amount of space for Doherty to fit into the team.

Doherty has commented in recent times that he believes himself and Seamus Coleman can work in the same team, but Kelly believes Mick McCarthy is unlikely to play the two of them together again.

“Is there a position in front of him at right wing? Against Gibraltar it didn’t really work that well but the conditions were so bad it’s hard to judge him on that game, but Mick did and he didn’t play him for the next one.

“That’s going to be extremely difficult for Matt Doherty to take because he has done so well, he’s kicked on and created a lot of interest in himself.

“So it's extremely frustrating from an Irish point of view that you can’t get him in the team, but where do you fit him in where Mick has the players he wants to play in that position,” Kelly said.

Ireland take on Denmark in Copenhagen, in what could be a crucial match for their Euro 2020 qualification hopes, tonight at 7:45 pm.

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Denmark Euro 2020 FAI Football International Ireland Matt Doherty Seamus Coleman Soccer

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