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"James McClean does great crashing around, but he doesn't look after the ball"

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

13:16 19 Nov 2019

With Ireland's hopes of qualifying for the 2020 European Championships to be decided one way or another in March, Gary Breen and Kenny Cunningham considered the effectiveness of Mick McCarthy's playing style and whether Irish fans should be expecting more. 

On a night where the attacking impetus rested largely with Ireland, Kenny Cunningham found certain aspects of the adopted playing-style against Denmark disconcerting.

"I was a little bit nervous," he admitted on Tuesday's OTB AM when it came to Ireland's playing of the ball out from the back. "I was never convinced that we were going to break that Danish press.

"It wasn't even a whole-hearted press, but I was nervous and more often than not we ended up going back to Darren Randolph at the end of six, seven passes and he scooped it clear.

"I never saw us make four, five, six passes, play through the press and end up with an overload driving at the Denmark penalty box."

One in a number of comments regarding Ireland's playing style and what may be most effective for the current squad, Cunningham, Gary Breen and the host Ger Gilroy found many reasons to disagree with one another; albeit Cunningham and Breen, two keen advocates of Mick McCarthy, weren't too far apart on the central belief that the right man is in charge.

The possibility of Ireland adopting a short, intense passing style on a regular basis is not foreseeable as far as Breen is concerned.

Principally, it is the players themselves that make it too daunting a prospect for any manager - however willing. Considering the effectiveness of this system and the positive impact it could have on Ireland's wing play, Gary Breen retained certain concerns.

"Where we'll fall down," he suggested, "is that you're getting balls out into wide positions to James McClean.

"[If you're] asking him to step inside and make an option so that his full-back can play balls in ... James does great for us crashing around, but he doesn't look after the ball particularly well.

"If our great hope involves getting it to James McClean and hoping he creates chances..."

A question of style that went on and on in this morning's show, you can watch back a full reaction to last night's game here.

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Gary Breen James Mcclean Kenny Cunningham Mick McCarthy Republic Of Ireland

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