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Brian Kerr hit the nail on the head with assessment of Bulgaria vs. Ireland

Brian Kerr

Brian Kerr needed less than two minutes to sum up the sentiments of most Irish fans watching the Republic of Ireland’s Uefa Nations League clash with Bulgaria.

Ireland required a late Shane Duffy header to rescue a draw in Sofia but Brian Kerr was realistic in his assessment of the match.

Kerr, who was on punditry duty for Virgin Media, looked at every area of Stephen Kenny’s team and broke down the positives and concerns from the 1-1 draw.

Brian Kerr on Stephen Kenny

The former Republic of Ireland manager identified a sense of nervousness in captain Shane Duffy and expressed doubts about whether Matt Doherty and Enda Stevens can flourish in a back four.

Kerr also singled out Callum O’Dowda for praise as the biggest attacking threat in Sofia.

“It wasn’t a great game,” Kerr said bluntly.

“It was a very surreal atmosphere with no crowd and I’d imagine you could hear everyone shouting and roaring.

“With the team and the performance, was it miles different to anything we’ve seen before? I wouldn’t think so but they certainly tried to play it out from the back.”

Kerr continued: “Out of the back four, Shane Duffy looked nervous in possession when he was trying to set up the play. Neither of the full-backs played as well as maybe we’ve seen them playing at their clubs and that would suggest that maybe it’s a bit different for them now playing in a four at the back rather than a five at their clubs.

Brian Kerr on Matt Doherty

“In midfield, we passed it fairly accurately most of the time and didn’t give it away too often. The intent and intention was to try to keep possession and build up play.

“In the front part of the pitch and out of the three players, I think O’Dowda was the best of them during the time he was on the pitch.

Brian Kerr on Callum O'Dowda

“The other two are untried really at the top level. It was a brave decision to play both of them but they’ve both got a lot of potential. We haven’t had an out-and-out goalscorer for many, many years.

“They worked hard to get the equalising goal. Brady and Robinson had a good influence when they came on.

“Overall, it was a satisfactory result and a satisfactory performance.”

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