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Gary Neville weighs in on Seamus Coleman vs. Matt Doherty debate

Seamus Coleman

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When it comes to right-backs, few are as accomplished as Gary Neville.

And now Gary Neville has weighed in on the Seamus Coleman vs. Matt Doherty dilemma facing new Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny, with the legendary Manchester United full-back admitting that he is unsure if both Irishmen can fit in the same team.

It had been suggested that both Doherty and Coleman could play together if Kenny utilised three at the back, with Coleman slotting in as a right-sided centre-half and Doherty playing in the right wing-back position to which he became so accustomed at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Matt Doherty and Seamus Coleman

But with Doherty now seemingly working as more of an out-and-out right-back at Tottenham Hotspur, it likely compounds the headache faced by Kenny.

Neville, speaking to Off The Ball, suggested that former Irish boss Jack Charlton would have found a way to get both men in the same line-up although the former England full-back has warned that doing so might unbalance the Irish team.

“What normally happens is that the manager will fudge it and create a system that gets them both in,” Neville explained.

Gary Neville

“Historically, we’ve seen that where teams have strong players in the same position. I reckon Jack Charlton would have played Seamus Coleman at right-back and Matt Doherty further up.

“That won’t work now though and you’re going to get a pretty ugly performance because the side loses balance.”

Doherty recently admitted that it’s something of a toss-up between himself and Coleman for a starting position in Ireland’s upcoming fixtures against Slovakia, Wales and Finland.

Seamus Coleman

Neville has compared the situation to the competition between Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kyle Walker for England but Gareth Southgate seems more willing to play three at the back than Kenny.

Like so many supporters, Neville is simply uncertain about how Kenny can fit Coleman and Doherty into the same starting XI.

He continued: “Could Doherty play as a right-sided centre-back? He’s physically quite strong and quick. Could he play there? I don’t know. Could Coleman? I don’t know how, to be honest.”

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