Matt Doherty is riding a wave of confidence and looking forward to increased international appearances as an Irish player under Mick McCarthy.
Coleman has struggled for consistency this season as part of an inconsistent Everton side, which currently sits 11th in the Premier League table. Matt Doherty, conversely, is having a breakout season as part of a Wolves side that have exceeded expectations with some fantastic performances.
Doherty has 31 appearances, four assists and three goals for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, and has arguably been the standout right back in this season’s Premier League, even winning Player of the Month in September.
The biggest selection dilemma facing McCarthy centres around the fact that he must shoehorn two right backs, one his captain, the other a standout player, into a defence with just one slot available. Doherty has a good relationship with the new Republic manager, stemming from their time at Wolves together, and it looks like he could benefit hugely from the new appointment.
“I’m very pleased to be back. I know Mick and (Terry Connor) from being at Wolves. Training has been enjoyable and fun. New manager, new campaign, new era. Put the past in the past and move forward.
“We had a good relationship when I was at Wolves. At the moment, we’ve just been getting ourselves into the sessions, playing matches.
“The last camp I was in was an opportunity for me. Now that the manager is someone I’ve worked with before and I have a good relationship.”
Doherty can consider himself unlucky not to have played more games under Martin O’Neill during the last campaign, and was quick to share his opinion, laughing when the question was posed to him.
“I would like to think so personally (that I should have played more during the last campaign). Hopefully, that will be different. No idea why I didn’t play more. It’s not the end of the world. You’ve got to respect the eleven that go out.
“I’m having a pretty good season. Semi-Final of the FA Cup and seventh in the league. The brand of football we’re playing is quite attractive.
“If I play, I’m going to have to adapt to how the manager wants me to play. I haven’t played in a flat four on the right-hand side. At the end of the day, I am probably a full back so that would be my main position. I have no issues going forward.
“It’s well documented that there’s been a lack of goals lately. We need to be chipping in the goals, and fortunately, I’ve got that ability to be in the right position at the right time.
“Going forward and scoring goals, it’s just instinct. No one can teach that. It’s just me having a gut feeling. I don’t think you can coach people to score goals, but you can teach them about where to be.
“I think I am good enough. I didn’t start the season well. I got myself a lot fitter. I’ve been able to adapt. Confidence is everything. I’m super confident at the moment. I know at times that changes throughout the season. My confidence is sky-high.”
“I should have had more goals and assists. The stats could actually be better, but I’m not going to complain. I think I have six goals and seven assists in all competitions.”
The Ireland squad has been hampered by the withdrawals of Shane Long, Alan Browne, Ronan Curtis, and Callum O’Dowda, but those injuries have opened the door for senior call ups for Josh Cullen and Jack Byrne. Aiden O’Brien, Millwall, and Kevin Long, Burnley, have also been added to the squad.
The squad in full to face Gibraltar and Georgia is as follow:
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Keiren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday), Mark Travers (Bournemouth)
Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Richard Keogh (Derby County), John Egan (Sheffield United), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United), Kevin Long (Burnley)
Midfielders: Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Harry Arter (Cardiff City*), Glenn Whelan (Aston Villa), Robbie Brady (Burnley), Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers), James McClean (Stoke City)
Forwards: Aiden O’Brien (Milwall), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), David McGoldrick (Sheffield United), James Collins (Luton Town)
The Republic of Ireland’s fixtures are as follows:
– Gibraltar vs Republic of Ireland, Saturday, March 23rd.
– Republic of Ireland vs Georgia, Tuesday, March 26th.