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John Giles picks his all-time Republic of Ireland XI

John Giles has chosen his all-time Republic of Ireland XI on Thursday's Off The Ball - and there ...


John Giles picks his all-time Republic of Ireland XI

John Giles has chosen his all-time Republic of Ireland XI on Thursday's Off The Ball - and there is no place for Giles himself. 

Giles followed on from his Leeds United XI last week - get in touch with us on our social channels to let us know who you would have in or out.

Without further ado...

Shay Given

7 September 2015; Shay Given, Republic of Ireland, at the end of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Group D, Republic of Ireland v Georgia, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Fresh from Donegal's Mount Rushmore, Given makes it as the number one on Giles' list, after a stellar international career.

"I can't remember him making any important mistakes - a steady guy with a good temperament." said Giles, before rejecting Gary Neville's assertion that he had a tendency to be bullied.

Denis Irwin

5 September 1998; Denis Iriwn of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2000 Group 8 Qualifier between Republic of Ireland and Croatia at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile.

One of Cork's finest exports, Irwin had an enormous impact on Manchester United's success and the Republic of Ireland. Two-footed, great with free kicks and from the penalty spot, Irwin offered a lot going forward as well as in the back-line.

"I feel sorry to leave Seamus Coleman out, but he isn't finished yet," said Giles of his difficult decision.

"Denis was a terrific player, could play left and right, calm and got on with the job. He didn't seek the publicity in any way.

"Denis was a terrific player for Manchester United. He never tried to show off or try and be one of the stars - but he was a star because of his ability."

Tony Dunne

Next up for John is Tony Dunne, who also made it into Manchester United's all-time XI for John.

The Dubliner was in receipt of high praise from Giles for his solid performances and 'deceptive' speed.

It is not an easy compliment to get from Giles that Dunne was the "best left-back in England for ten years."

Charlie Hurley

Charlie Hurley played for Millwall, Sunderland and Bolton Wanderers, helping him earn 40 caps for the Republic of Ireland.

"Some people might remember him. Charlie was a footballing centre-half, he was one of the best in those days.

"He could play out from the back and was before his time. He was a big fella, excellent in the air and had terrific control."

Paul McGrath

This was a no-brainer, as Giles explains. Former Manchester United and Aston Villa centre-back, and star of Ireland's international campaigns, McGrath overcame great personal problems to consistently perform with Ireland.

"When you get a lad that can play like Paul can, the further you go back the easier it is. They are facing more of the play.

"He was majestic. He could play anywhere, but playing at centre-half, he could read the game. He was not out to show off, he was out there to perform."

Roy Keane

13 October 2004; Roy Keane, Republic of Ireland. FIFA 2006 World Cup Qualifier, Republic of Ireland v Faroe Islands, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit; Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE

Cork's perhaps best-known export, Keane is straight into Giles' XI for his leadership skills and much more.

"Roy Keane was at his best when his team needed him the most.

"He was the man that was going to drive it on for Manchester United and for Ireland as well. He was never satisfied with himself - that is the sign of a great player.

"There were times when he could have been kinder to his teammates, but not very often.

"If I wanted someone beside me in a match, it would be Roy Keane."

Liam Brady

Again, another no-brainer, but Giles has gone for his long-time television pundit in Brady.

"He was a beautiful player, to see him go past players."

"We had to get something beautiful in there," remarked Giles of his former teammate, player and fellow analyst. "Liam was a beautiful player.

"He wasn't a midfield general, but if you got the ball to Liam then he would do something with it.

"He wasn't the warrior, but he did his stuff on the wing. He wasn't a great tackler, but he had an honest go at it."

Ronnie Whelan

John tried to sign Whelan while he was Shamrock Rovers manager, mainly due to his professional outlook - and playing with his dad.

"I don't think Ronnie cared about the headlines, he was concerned about contributing to the team effort on the pitch.

"He would go simple and be a professional.

"Some lads are professionals from the time they were born, and that was the case with Ronnie.

Steve Heighway

Ousting Damien Duff, a Liverpool and Ireland stalwart made it in.

"He could go past people, was really quick and could really play.

"He was a right-footed player on the left wing. With the things that he won, and the team that he was in - and I think the world of Damien - I would have to choose Heighway."

Robbie Keane

15 November 2013; Republic of Ireland's Robbie Keane celebrates after scoring his side's first goal. Three International Friendly, Republic of Ireland v Latvia, Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

The Republic of Ireland's all-time top goalscorer. End of.

"Robbie has a great goalscoring record. To score what he did was phenomenal.

"Robbie was a natural goalscorer. There are players like that, they come alive when there is a goalscoring chance.

"There is this instinct to see something and put it away."

Frank Stapleton in Republic of Ireland XI

Stapleton has a little bit more than Keane as a complete player, according to Giles.

"He was an all-round player. He was in the match all the time and a good positional player to link it up."

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Ciaran Bradley Giles Ireland John Giles Republic Of Ireland Sport