Kevin Doyle has predicted that Aaron Connolly will not start for the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday against Switzerland, despite the forward’s impressive cameo against Georgia.
Connolly was the only positive to come from a truly terrible game of football on Saturday afternoon.
Ireland played out a goalless draw against Georgia in Tbilisi and their chances of qualifying for Euro 2020 have taken a hit.
Ireland will have to beat either Switzerland away or Denmark at home to have a realistic chance of reaching the tournament next summer after dropping points to Georiga.
If they do not finish in the top two of the group, the play-off route through the Nations League may be open to Mick McCarthy’s side.
Things may have been different against Georgia if Connolly had played from the start, or maybe not. However, he made a bigger impact in his 13-minutes on the pitch than most of his teammates did for 90-minutes.
The Galway-native, who scored twice against Tottenham Hotspur last week for Brighton, had two efforts at goal and troubled the Georgia defence with his pace and direct running.
On RTÉ at full-time, Damien Duff, Didi Hamann and Kevin Doyle praised Connolly.
Duff said the forward should have been brought on earlier and said there is a “genuine excitement” about the player.
“He played against a Premier League team, the Champions League finalists, and on Saturday he ripped them to pieces, he’s ready,” Duff said.
However, Doyle, who played under McCarthy for three years at Wolves, predicted that McCarthy will not play Connolly against Switzerland.
“Knowing Mick, and knowing the more people clamour for him to start, the more stubborn Mick will become and won’t play him,” Doyle said.
You can watch the RTÉ panel speak about Connolly here:
Over on Virgin Media Sport, Brian Kerr said McCarthy made the right decision to not start the 19-year-old.
Niall Quinn said he was actually “pleased” that Connolly didn’t start, as he would have got “zero service” and would have been “hauled off” late in the game.
You can watch their analysis here:
And you can watch Connolly’s interview with RTÉ below.
The Brighton forward reflected on a “proud moment” for him and his family.
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