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'I think Matt Doherty is going to play' | Kenny Cunningham on Coleman v. Doherty

Former Republic of Ireland captain Kenny Cunningham joined OTB AM on Monday to look ahead to Step...

Former Republic of Ireland captain Kenny Cunningham joined OTB AM on Monday to look ahead to Stephen Kenny's first two games as a senior international manager.

Kenny's side travel to Sofia to play Bulgaria in the UEFA Nations League on Thursday and then face-off against Finland at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

Incorporating both Seamus Coleman and Matt Doherty into the team has again been a topic of discussion.

"If it’s going to be an orthodox back four, I think Matt Doherty is going to play," Cunningham said.

"He can’t put them both in the team when we’re playing a flat-four. We found that out over in Gibraltar. 

"The only way to get them both into the team is to revert to a back three and play a 3-5-2.

"I still feel that Seamus Coleman could be incorporated into the team on the right side of a three. I’m a big fan of fullbacks playing in a three, particularly in international football when they don’t have to deal with continual crosses into the box.

"I think there is an argument for that and I’d actually love to see that but my gut feeling tells me that in terms of formation, Stephen has got a clear picture of how he wants to play in a 4-3-3."


Doherty sealed a move to Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend for a fee in the region £14.75million. 

The 28-year-old decided to move on from Wolverhampton Wanderers after a decade spent at the club. Cunningham pointed out that Seamus Coleman was probably in a similar situation to Doherty just a few years ago, but the Donegal native decided to remain at Everton.

"Two people’s circumstances are different and timing is everything in football. Seamus probably arrived at that moment in his career some years ago," Cunningham said. 

"Seamus was absolutely exceptional, he could’ve played for any club in the world. There was talk of Manchester United and Chelsea around that time and he could have gone.

"I think he might have had to fight his way out of the football club and maybe he wasn’t that type of character. Maybe he was happy where he was, he was settled. 

"Two different personalities, two different sets of circumstances. Seamus has been a stalwart at Everton and I’m sure he feels that he made the right decision.

"Obviously Matt has come to a different conclusion, he’s felt that he wants to go, take a step outside and challenge himself somewhere else. 

"I don’t think either is right or wrong, everyone is different and makes their decisions for different reasons."

The Republic of Ireland's Nations League campaign kicks off with a match against Bulgaria at 7.45pm on Thursday, followed by a meeting with Finland at 5pm on Sunday.

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Everton Matt Doherty Republic Of Ireland Seamus Coleman Spurs Stephen Kenny Wolves