John Giles has defended Mick McCarthy's decision not to play Matt Doherty as a central midfielder for Ireland's clash against Gibraltar.
Giles thinks that McCarthy has been receiving a lot of criticism for not giving the Wolves right back a chance in a new position but believes that the Gibraltar game was no the place to do so.
"I can understand where they’re coming from because the attitude was we’re going to beat Gibraltar anyway. Why not give Doherty, who’s been a terrific player for Wolverhampton all year... (a chance) in the middle of the pitch," he said.
"Don’t forget, he hasn’t had the chance to put Doherty in a match where it was a friendly match, where it wouldn’t matter this much."
While many were considering Gibraltar an easy match, Giles was worried about what could have happened.
"When you’re a manager of a team like Mick is, his attitude would be 'I’m not taking a chance on this against Gibraltar', it’s too important."
"It’s alright for outsiders, myself included, to say we should beat Gibraltar anyway. But we only bet Gibraltar to finish off in injury time. What the manager could be thinking… is anything can happen here. What happens if I put Doherty in that position and we only draw."
Considering previous attempts to move Doherty around the pitch, Giles is aware of how things could go wrong.
"He did play on the right against Gibraltar and he was out of it, as most of the players were on that particular day because the conditions were very bad. But is he going to play in the middle of the pitch?"
"Now he might be a terrific midfield player and he might not but I’m only taking it from Mick’s perspective as the manager… I wouldn’t have taken a risk on it. I would have gone with what I knew against Gibraltar."
He was asked if the training ground would be sufficient test for a Doherty position switch but shut the idea down immediately.
"You can’t tell that much from the training ground anyway, you can’t. You can assume and you can train but you have to see the matches."