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 Halloween let’s take a look at who is positioned where in this week’s edition of The Big Green Ladder.
1) Declan Rice – (Up 1)
It seems like each time The Big Green Ladder returns to our lives, the displays of West Ham’s Declan Rice just get better and better.
As heartbreaking as it is to see for Irish fans, Rice once again was instrumental in the Hammers’ draw against Leicester City as he grew into the game despite a slow opening ten minutes.
West Ham were relying on him in the midfield following Noble’s red card and he stepped up to dominate the battle, doing the simple things right and shining when the pressure was on him.
2) Matt Doherty – (Down 1)
A player at the very top of his game Doherty was a constant attacking threat on the right for Wolves and was unlucky to be on the losing side against Brighton.
Doherty was at the heart of almost everything positive that Wolves did in the final third – constantly made himself an outlet and regularly got to the byline, in behind Gaeten Bong who had an afternoon to forget.
By his own admission, he should have scored when he side-footed just past the post. Also placed a shot into the side netting and saw a long-range effort well saved.
3) Darren Randolph – (New Entry)
A part of the best defence in the Championship, Middlesbrough have Irish number one Darren Randolph to thank for making sure they came away with a point against free-scoring Derby County.
In the first half especially Randolph was tremendous keeping Frank Lampard’s men at bay with a string of wonderful saves as Middlesbrough struggled to deal with what Derby had to offer.
He could do little about George Friend’s own goal, on what was a strong day individually for Randolph who finished the game with seven saves including a crucial one from David Nugent in the second half.
4) Robbie Brady – (New Entry)
A difficult day for Sean Dyche’s Burnley side who have been haemorrhaging goals against the big sides of late, but if the Clarets manager can take one positive from their 0-4 defeat to Chelsea it’s the performance of Robbie Brady.
After an extended period on the sidelines, Brady returned to the Burnley starting XI and was probably his side’s best outfield player looking bright whenever he was in possession.
Brady was unable to creatively influence a game in which Burnley were certainly second best but he showed glimmers of what makes him one of Ireland’s best players.
Great to see him back.
5) Shane Duffy – (Up 4)
Another fantastic display on Saturday from Brighton defender Shane Duffy who was rewarded for his excellent performance with a clean sheet against Wolves.
This was a textbook Shane Duffy display with the Derryman dominating the aerial battle against Wolves’ Raul Jimenez, making crucial challenges when called upon.
Duffy also came close to grabbing a goal himself and was a constant threat in the air from set-pieces as he continues to shine in a strong Brighton side.
6) Callum Robinson (Re-Entry)
A player coming into Preston North End’s game with Rotherham United in scintillating form, Callum Robinson just couldn’t find his recent spark in a tough game for Alex Neill’s side.
Robinson was one of Ireland’s standout performers in their recent international friendlies and grabbed two goals and had a hand in another in Preston’s excellent 4-3 victory over Brentford last week.
Against Rotherham, Robinson was again lively but arguably should’ve done better with a late chance that would’ve given his side all three points. Still, however, it’s very hard to criticise the 23-year old considering the brilliant form he is in.
7) Shaun Williams – (New Entry)
A very tidy performance at the heart of the Millwall midfield from Shaun Williams as his side picked up a really solid 3-0 win over Championship strugglers Ipswich.
Williams sat in front of the Millwall back four and did exactly what was required of him keeping things ticking over in the midfield.
The 31-year old’s set-pieces also proved highly effective with one of his corners finding striker Lee Gregory on the money as he finished nicely.
8) Alan Browne – (Down 3)
Similar to his Preston North End teammate Callum Robinson in the sense that this was a game that halted a brilliant run of form that midfielder Alan Browne had been in.
As usual, Browne worked hard in his position off the front but struggled to find himself in the attacking areas that he had been able to exploit in recent games.
Despite this small blip the 23-year old must be wondering what he has to do to secure a starting place in the Irish midfield as his commanding performances in an in-form Preston North End side, still don’t seem to be enough for Martin O’Neill.
9) David McGoldrick – (Down 6)
A player that has almost been overlooked by Ireland in recent times despite their glaringly obvious issues in the striking department, David McGoldrick put in another excellent performance for high-flying Sheffield United at the weekend.
McGoldrick started out-wide despite being deployed as a centre-forward in recent months and worked incredibly hard for the team as striker Billy Sharp reaped the rewards with a hat-trick
The former Ipswich Town man has a delicate touch and a tremendous footballing brain and has played a vital part in what’s been an outstanding season for Sheffield United.
10) Richard Keogh (Re-Entry)
Solid again for Derby County, Richard Keogh is quietly becoming one of Frank Lampard’s most reliable players as he pushes for promotion in his first year in charge at the iPro.
Experienced and steady, Keogh did well to deal with any attacking threat that Middlesbrough threw at Derby County and could do nothing about the goal which was a freak O.G.
A real leader in a young side.