John Giles: "I think Arter could bring more to the team than McCarthy"

Ireland face Austria on Saturday with McCarthy absent

Harry Arter, Ireland,

Ireland’s Harry Arter ©INPHO/Gary Carr

John Giles believes Harry Arter can offer more in midfield for Ireland than James McCarthy.

The latter is ruled out of Saturday's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Austria because of injury and that has increased the chances that Bournemouth's Arter will get a competitive start in Vienna.

McCarthy is not the only injury absentee with Shane Long and Daryl Murphy out injured and James McClean still in contention while returning to fitness ahead of an all-important away game.

But John is happy with what Ireland have got in reserve as he said on Off The Ball tonight. 

"Anytime I've seen him he's been impressive. I think he could bring more to the team than McCarthy brings to it," he said.

"So I wouldn't be too worried about that. McClean, I think, needs to be fit. But then you've got Daryl Horgan who might come into the team.

"You've got Wes Hoolahan, you've got Arter, you've got Hendrick, you've got [Robbie] Brady. I think we've got enough there to be okay. [Glenn] Whelan might play.

Andy Boyle and Daryl Horgan ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

"I think we've enough talent in that team to do very well against Austria. I mean, we saw Austria in the Euros and they haven't been great by any means." 

He also feels that Horgan and Andy Boyle have proven themselves sufficiently at Dundalk to be able to slot in seamlessly in the Austria game and beyond.

John, who was in the last Irish team to beat Austria way back in October 1963 as well as a 0-0 draw the same year, also spoke about how disorganised things were at international level when he was a player at a time when there was a selection committee in place  of five people who would pick the team.

"We were the most disorganised team, I would say, in the world, and that's why the draw in Austria was one of the miracles that I was involved with the Irish team," he recalled.

"We had the selection committee of five - the Big Five they were called. The main qualification to be a selector of the Irish team was to know nothing about football!"

The selection committee structure remained in place until 1969 and along with other issues, it meant missing out on getting picked was a risk.

"I finished up with 59 caps over a long period of time. But I got a good few of them when I was managing myself," he laughed, before concluding, "I probably missed out on 10-15 [more caps], I would imagine."