This team will not start against Switzerland on Thursday night, but it should.
It features a change of system, a 3-5-2 formation with three central defenders, but it is not a defensive move and it plays to the strengths of the Ireland team.
John Egan is rewarded for his fine form with Sheffield United and starts in defence with Keogh and Duffy. If nothing else, this will make Ireland even more of a threat at set-pieces.
Coleman and Stevens would play as wing-backs. This would particularly suit Stevens, who has played brilliantly for the Blades in the Premier League. Crucially, there is no place for McClean in this side and that can only be considered a good thing.
The Stoke City winger has shown no signs of being on the same wavelength as Stevens and would only get in the way against the Swiss. Stevens would be more effective as a wing-back, as he has shown for Sheffield United so far this season.
It’s an Enda Stevens world and we’re just living in it….. pic.twitter.com/QKehOrIxqQ
— Sheffield United (@SheffieldUnited) September 2, 2019
With three central defenders, there’s less need for a purely defensive midfielder. So Whelan misses out and Hourihane drops deeper in this side. The Aston Villa midfielder has played in this position for his club and has the ability to bring Ireland’s wing-backs into play and help Ireland get up the pitch. Hendrick and Alan Browne can both take turns bombing on to support Ireland’s front-two.
Up front, Robinson and McGoldrick start, as they have for Sheffield United this season. Coming into the game, Robinson is in excellent form and he showed against Chelsea last Saturday the damage he can do when on form.
The forward scored and set-up another in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. His best work came down the left, and his link-up play with Stevens was excellent. Again this can’t happen if McClean is in the way. However, McCarthy won’t select this team or system.