Richard Dunne puts his focus on the bench as he looks ahead to Ireland's Georgia match

And he also gives an insight into passing in training as he chats to Kevin Kilbane

Richard Dunne

Richard Dunne ©INPHO/James Crombie

Richard Dunne is hoping more depth can be added to the Ireland squad during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

While a strong starting XI has been taking shape, the ability to bring on impact substitutes would boost the team and it's something ex-Ireland centre-back Dunne discussed as he spoke to Off The Ball and ex-international team-mate Kevin Kilbane.

"The last game away in Serbia sort of proved that point. Things maybe weren't going our way and we had the ability to bring on [Stephen] Quinn and [Daryl] Murphy to change the game back in our favour," he said.

"Apart from Wes [Hoolahan] if he is on the bench [against Georgia], there's not that load of options really.

"We need to try and fill out the squad over this campaign I think."

Dunne also believes that the emerging generation of players need to gain the experience of getting victories in competitive fixtures after getting a taste of the highest level at Euro 2016. 

"Because it's a newish sort of group of players all playing together and the so-called old guard have dropped out over the last couple of months, it's important for them to win important qualifying games, whether that be at home or away. If they can pick up the six points [against Georgia and Moldova], it'll be a major boost for the lads going into the tougher games ahead."  

He and Kevin also discussed why Ireland have struggled to keep possession consistently at international level, as they discussed their own experiences of high-tempo training sessions when the ball was kept quite well.

"Teams could keep the ball in training and sometimes when you trained it might be 12 against 12 or something on the pitch. But people could get into little pockets and keep the ball. It was always 100 miles per hour and for me as a defender, it's like 'what do I have to do because these are all charging at us?'

"'We'll stop them'. So you stop and you clear it and then our team has a little go and there's no sort of plan as far as I can remember that says, 'right, the goalkeeper is going to pass it to the right-back, he's going to pass it to a midfielder and then maybe come back and start again'. It was just 'get it away from our goal and played it in their half'. It's the way it's always been."