When Martin O’Neill decided to leave Wes Hoolahan out of his Ireland starting eleven to face Austria, he was always running the risk of annoying Eamon Dunphy.
The outspoken RTE pundit has been Hoolahan’s biggest fan for some time now, and is generally aghast when the Norwich playmaker isn’t selected.
So when the teamsheet for Sunday’s match was released just over an hour before kick-off, Dunphy was visibly annoyed to see that Glenn Whelan, Harry Arter and Jeff Hendrick would be making up the Irish midfield.
Indeed Whelan, also the captain for the clash in the absence of Seamus Coleman, bore the full brunt of Dunphy’s anger at the situation:
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has gone for an attacking side against Austria, but there’s no Wes Hoolahan and Eamon Dunphy isn’t happy. pic.twitter.com/7kVLJV1URE
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) June 11, 2017
“No Wes Hoolahan, it’s hard to see who is going to be the playmaker in midfield, and when you’re at home the task of playmaker is so important, you’ve got to open the opposition up.
“Whelan’s presence is inexplicable really. When he went off in Vienna against the same opponents and David Meyler came on we improved enormously.
“Whelan does nothing, really. He effectively doesn’t do what Arter does which is be sharp in the tackle, he never really looks for the ball, so I don’t know why he’s in the team.”
Hoolahan is on the Irish bench, and it seems almost certain that his presence will be required by O’Neill and Ireland at some point.
On this week’s edition of the Mixer Irish Football podcast, we spoke to former Ireland international Joe Gamble as well as looking ahead to Martin O’Neill’s side’s clash against Austria this weekend.