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How Ireland should line out ag...
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How Ireland should line out against Gibraltar

Enda Coll
Enda Coll

12:31 10 Jun 2019

It has been the perfect start for Mick McCarthy.

Two wins from the first two games to get the campaign up and running, an important draw away to Denmark and now a relatively straight forward home game against Gibraltar.

While you don't want to risk interrupting the team's rhythm, it is a perfect chance to make a few changes to the starting XI and give some players a chance to lay claim to a starting place.

Here's how we think Mick McCarthy should line-up against Gibraltar.

Formation: 4-4-2/4-3-3 

GK: Darren Randolph 

Randolph is an important part of this Irish set-up now. His distribution will be key for Ireland in a game where we will be controlling quite a bit of the ball. He has also shown that he stays alert in games where saves might be few and far between.

RB: Matt Doherty

It's clear now that Seamus Coleman will be Ireland's number one choice at right back but tonight is a night for Doherty. The Wolves player is not someone who will like sitting on the bench and given the nature of tonight's game, it's a good time to rotate and give him a chance to put pressure on Coleman for that starting place.

CB: Shane Duffy 

There's no dropping the Derryman after his recent performances. His experience will be massive going forward in this tournament.

CB: John Egan 

Not a judgement on Richard Keogh's performance against Denmark. Again, without getting complacent, the nature of the clash this evening should allow Mick McCarthy to try out a few new combinations. Egan has been a strong component of Sheffield United's promotion this season and will slot in well beside Duffy. A big chance for him to cement a starting role.

LB: Enda Stevens 

A disciplined performance from the left-back against Denmark. The game tonight might give him more of a chance to get on the ball and push further forward.

CM: Conor Hourihane 

A little bit subdued in the attack against Denmark but will have much more freedom in tonight's clash. He is Ireland's best option in midfield right now. Danger from free-kicks, good on the ball and also has the intelligence to drop further back and help out defensively as he did on Friday night.

CM: Jeff Hendrick 

Will have to act as the link between attack and defence tonight. He put in a solid performance against Denmark on Friday and is starting to get back to form in an Ireland shirt. Hopefully, he'll be celebrating into a packed Aviva stand tonight as opposed to an empty airport runway.

RM: Callum O'Dowda

O'Dowda will be disappointed with his lack of game time thus far. This is the perfect game for the Bristol City midfielder. He'll be operating as a roaming number 10, in the hole. By coming inside, he will allow room to open up to his right for Doherty to push into.

LM: Callum Robinson 

He hasn't had much time on the pitch for Ireland so far but has been dangerous any time he has played. A good night to get him on from the get-go and get at the Gibraltar defence.

FW: David McGoldrick 

Has been a brilliant addition to this Ireland set-up. The only thing lacking from his performances have been goals. Tonight is a great chance for him to get his name on the scoresheet.

FW: Sean Maguire

A tough choice between Maguire and Scott Hogan tonight. Maguire's pace and ability on the ball give him the edge tonight. He's strongest centrally but can push out wide if needs be, should McCarthy want to shift the formation around.

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