Martin O’Neill’s decision to select Callum O’Dowda in the Ireland midfield in Saturday’s World Cup play-off against Denmark is undoubtedly a brave one.
With David Meyler suspended, many assumed that Aston Villa’s Glenn Whelan would simply slot into the midfield three in a familiar and predictable lineup. However, O’Neill has thrown a serious curveball and placed an enormous amount of trust in the 22-year-old Bristol City winger.
Speaking to RTE ahead of the tie in the Parken Stadium, O’Neill explained his reasoning for selecting O’Dowda in the lineup, and what it means for where Robbie Brady will be playing on the pitch:
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) November 11, 2017
“I saw [O’Dowda] playing for Bristol just last weekend, and I thought he did very well in that position that Robbie [Brady] has been playing in – Robbie’s gone back in now to play in midfield for us.
“The two of them can adjust to those positions too, they can interact as well, so a lot of things there. Big game tonight, massive match.”
From O’Neill’s words then it can be taken that O’Dowda will operate on the right hand side of midfield, with Brady sitting in front of Jeff Hendrick and Harry Arter in the midfield three.
In this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we review last week’s FAI Cup final with former Cork City defender Derek Coughlan and look ahead to Ireland’s massive World Cup play-off against Denmark.