Coach Martin O’Neill remains focused on Wes Hoolahan as he plays to the strength of players in the squad.

The manager has recognized the ability of the player so he would keep him close though he prefers to play with the midfield options he has.

Hoolahan is the man where the other options are down or limited. He is known to change the way players around him play even though he knows just the front foot approach. The crowd are always excited and expectant when he is on the pitch.

When they played Austria, Hoolahan would have helped the team with the approach as the choices in midfield failed to deliver. Robbie Brady was flat out in the game as he seemed exhausted after a busy year; Jeff Hendrick did not live up to the billing as he did back at the Euros; Glenn Whelen did the usual which is to play just to instructions and not to the live event. On the other hand Harry Arter was just running while failing to achieve the desired expectations.

James McClean was the only one who attempted to follow Roy Keane’s approach. The aerial bombardment approached failed as the opposition quickly mopped up the ball and the follow up from the Ireland side was weak.

Giovanni Trapattoni ignored Stephen Ireland, while disciplining Andy Reid from the team. Hoolahan was also a victim but O’Neill recognizes the work of the player in the team.

When the result between Serbia and Wales was announced, the team knew they had lost a chance. O’Neill said in the first 15 minutes, the team failed to do anything regarding getting a front foot in the match. He added that the sloppy play allowed the Austrians get into the game and they could only grow comfortable.

Copyright Stephen Ireland 2024
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