Home Football The Ireland Team That Should Play Against Switzerland But Won’t

The Ireland Team That Should Play Against Switzerland But Won’t

This team will not start against Switzerland on Thursday night, but it should.

The Republic of Ireland play the Swiss in a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier at the Aviva Stadium. The match will prove pivotal in Ireland’s qualification campaign for a tournament that will see Dublin will host four games.

Going into the tie against Switzerland, Mick McCarthy’s side are top of Group D, with 10 points from four games. They recorded two wins against Gibraltar, a victory against Georgia and a draw away to Denmark. The Danes, who are five points behind Ireland, have a game in hand on McCarthy’s team. While the Swiss have two games in hand due to their involvement in the Nations League finals.

While their destiny is in their own hands, the tough work begins now for Ireland and a positive result is essential for McCarthy’s team against Switzerland, who are ranked 11th in the world.

Ahead of the game, it is easy to predict the Ireland starting XI. It will be (almost) the same side that lined out against Denmark in June in a 4-3-3 formation. (Robbie Brady started that game but misses out on this squad through injury).

Darren Randolph in goal behind a back-four of Seamus Coleman, Richard Keogh, Shane Duffy and Enda Stevens.

In midfield, it will be Glenn Whelan, Jeff Hendrick and Conor Hourihane. Callum Robinson will be on the right, James McClean will be on the left and David McGoldrick will start up front.

Barring any late injuries, that will be the Ireland starting XI for the team’s most important game in almost two years. However, better is possible.

Here is the team we would select for this crucial game:

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.

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.

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