Eamon Dunphy on the Ireland player who could be Wes Hoolahan’s successor

Eamon Dunphy Wes Hoolahan

“That is part of McGrath’s game. He looks composed and capable.”

Eamon Dunphy has said that Jamie McGrath could potentially be Wes Hoolahan’s long-term successor for the Republic of Ireland. The Boys in Green have lacked a creative attacking midfield presence since Hoolahan retired from international football at the start of 2018.

Dunphy, however, believes that McGrath could be the one to fill Hoolahan’s boots for the national team. The former RTÉ pundit made the comparison following Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Serbia in a World Cup qualifier at the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday night, a match McGrath started.

Eamon Dunphy: Jamie McGrath could be the successor to Wes Hoolahan for Ireland.

Dunphy, writing in his column for The Irish Daily Star, said Ireland fans should be optimistic about McGrath’s development. The midfielder, 24, scored 17 goals for Scottish side St Mirren last season and has been linked with a move to England off the back of his performances.

“One thing Ireland have lacked since Wes Hoolahan retired is a number 10 player, someone who can unlock defences with a pass or a run,” the former RTÉ pundit said.

“That is part of McGrath’s game. He looks composed and capable. Only a foul stopped him in a dangerous position in the first half.

Dunphy: McGrath’s performances show why Kenny warrants more time.

Dunphy also wrote that McGrath’s ascent to the Ireland team shows why Stephen Kenny warrants more time in the job to get things right.

Kenny worked with the player when he was Dundalk manager. According to Dunphy, unlike previous Ireland managers, he didn’t judge the player based on the club he was playing for.

“He believes in these players, and they believe in him,” Dunphy said about Kenny.

“It’s not that long since you might have had some turning up their noses at Ireland picking a St Mirren player against a team like Serbia, for example.

“But, against both Portugal and Serbia, Jamie McGrath has been hugely impressive.”

Dunphy: The FAI must stick with Kenny project.

Finally, Dunphy called for the FAI to stick with Kenny, who has recorded one victory in 16 games as manager of the Ireland team. The veteran pundit feels that the fans and the Irish players are behind the manager, and he deserves more time to put shape on the side.

“The fans back Kenny, the players back him, now it’s up to the FAI,” Dunphy wrote.

“Stop this nonsense of leaks that Kenny’s job is on the line. The FAI have to back their man — and do so publicly — because Kenny is the manager Irish football needs.”

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