There's only room for one of McCarthy and Whelan in John Giles' Ireland midfield

Ireland legend talks to Off The Ball about the lessons from the two friendlies

There's only room for one of McCarthy and Whelan in John Giles' Ireland midfield

Ireland's Glenn Whelan, Paul McShane and James McCarthy ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

John Giles feels Ireland look more impressive with "natural players" in midfield that can bounce off each other like Wes Hoolahan and Robbie Brady.

The former Ireland midfield great joined Off The Ball tonight to give his take on the friendlies against Slovakia and Switzerland.

"The best we played for a period was when we had Wes Hoolahan and Brady were on the pitch in midfield positions because they naturally play. They are natural players. McCarthy and Whelan are not natural players in that way. I was thinking my fear is when McCarthy and Whelan are on the pitch, we're not going to be creative at any time because I don't think they're capable of doing it," he said. 

John also thinks that the idea of the designated holding midfielder being the most important part of a team as a "myth" and feels there is only space for one of James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan.

"I'd have space for one of them. My midfield would be Hoolahan, McCarthy, Brady and McClean," he said, adding that Hoolahan would be in a roving role from the right.

Up front, he believes it's a "disaster" if Shane Long is left out of the starting line-up and would like to see the Southampton forward and Jon Walters to start together up front.