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Big Green Ladder: A Brace For McGoldrick As Doherty Impresses Again

The latest in Pundit Arena’s season-long weekly look at how the Irish contingent are faring in the English leagues.

With all four English divisions in full swing as we approach another international break, let’s take a look at who is positioned where in this week’s edition of The Big Green Ladder.

1) Matt Doherty (No Change)

One of the most in-form players of any nationality in the Premier League, Matt Doherty impressed once again in Wolves’ 2-0 win over Southampton at the weekend.

Building on excellent performances against West Ham and Manchester United over the past few weeks, Doherty was outstanding down the Wolves right flank, setting up both of their late goals with low crosses for Jonny Castro Otto and Raul Jimenez.

Doherty was also solid defensively and his work-rate was second to none as Wolves, impressively saw off the Saints.

Regardless of whether Coleman is fit or not, O’Neill should certainly be going out of his way to find a spot in the Irish starting XI for Doherty.


2) Declan Rice (No Change)

As heartbreaking as Rice’s performances continue to be from an Irish fan perspective, his unquestionable talent cannot be ignored.

Rice appears to be getting better and better with every passing game, and against Manchester United he was one of West Ham’s standout players as he gave his midfield teammates license to push forward and take the game to Mourinho’s men.

Sitting in front of his back four, Rice popped up everywhere putting in a colossal performance the likes of which Paul Pogba could not get the better of in the midfield battle.

The kind of display that will surely edge him ever closer to Gareth Southgate’s English grasp.

Declan Rice


3) David McGoldrick (New Entry)

As Ireland continue to search for the cure to their goalscoring struggles, 30-year old David McGoldrick continues to shine in a Sheffield United shirt.

The Blades moved into third in the Championship table, following two excellent victories over Millwall and Blackburn over the past week and McGoldrick was crucial in both.

His movement and touch have brought an extra dimension to United’s attack and he grabbed two excellent goals in Wilder’s side’s win over Millwall, and despite not getting on the scoresheet against Blackburn he was incredibly effective alongside Billy Sharp.

McGoldrick can consider himself very unfortunate not to have made the latest Irish squad.


4) Harry Arter (Re-entry From Week 4)

A return to the Irish squad after apparently resolving his issues with assistant manager Roy Keane, Harry Arter has been impressing at a struggling Cardiff City side.

Against Burnley, in a game that Cardiff were very much second best, Arter was certainly unlucky to be on the losing side as he played with plenty of industry, flying into tackles and always trying to get the Bluebirds on the front foot.

Arter has gone about his business excellently since his move to Wales and after being shown the door by Bournemouth, he has proven that he can still be a quality asset at this level.


5) Alan Browne (Re-Entry From Week 4)

Another man shining in a struggling side, Preston North End certainly missed midfielder Alan Browne during his brief injury lay-off.

In Preston’s first game of the week, a 2-3 defeat to high-flying West Brom, Browne put in a tremendous shift, trying his best to link the midfield and the attack but oftentimes to no avail as many around him struggled. His late goal in that game a minor consolation for his efforts.

Against Aston Villa he showed his versatility, starting on the right-wing, moving into the centre of midfield and finishing the game at right-back as Preston grabbed a 3-3 draw.


6) Ronan Curtis (Up 3)

It seems as though the momentum that Portsmouth striker Ronan Curtis has gathered early into his career in English football is showing no signs of slowing down.

Curtis was a constant threat in Pompey’s 3-1 win against Rochdale on Saturday and scored a tremendous individual winner in their 1-0 victory over Coventry in midweek.

The Derry man was also called into Martin O’Neill’s provisional Irish squad ahead of the UEFA Nations League games against Wales and Denmark.

A deserved award for a player many consider to be the best in League One.



7) Enda Stevens (New Entry)

A man who has grown in confidence since making his full international debut for Ireland against Poland, Enda Stevens has become one of the first names on Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United teamsheet.

A clean sheet in Wednesday night’s win over Blackburn and a constant threat going forward for the Blades, Stevens has given himself a great chance of starting at left-back in Ireland’s Nations League games.


8) Richie Towell (New Entry)

A deserved first call-up to the senior Irish squad for Rotherham United’s Brighton loanee Richie Towell following a speight of good performances for the championship side.

Towell most recently scored his first goal of the season as the Millers picked up a 2-2 draw with Stoke City to grab another strong point as they look to solidify themselves in the division.

The former Dundalk man, alongside fellow Irish man Ryan Manning, have been putting in excellent performances since being paired together at the heart of the Rotherham midfield.


9) Shane Duffy (Down 6)

Brighton certainly won’t be the only side to be well beaten by Manchester City this season, but credit where credit is due, many of Hughton’s men gave a solid account of themselves, including talismanic defender Shane Duffy.

Duffy did excellently to block an acrobatic Aguero shot, among other City chances and as per usual the big defender headed several crosses away against the champions at the Etihad.

The Derry man also proved again to be a threat from set-pieces, seeing a number of headed half-chances either miss the target or be easily saved by Ederson.


10) Ryan Manning (Down 3)

Joining his Rotherham teammate on this week’s edition of the ladder, Ryan Manning has been flourishing having been given a first-team opportunity at the New York Stadium.

Manning coolly finished a penalty against Stoke City and was lively and industrious alongside Towell in the middle of the park, against both the Potters and Bristol City just a few days later.

Still no senior call-up for Manning but one certainly shouldn’t be too far away if he keeps up his good performances at Championship level.


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Author: Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here [email protected]