Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

15.43 29 Sep 2020


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The prospect of a Republic of Ireland starting XI featuring both Matt Doherty and Seamus Coleman remains a very real one, according to Stephen Kenny. 

The right-backs were perhaps the least surprising inclusions in the 25-man squad for next week's Euro 2020 playoff with Slovakia, and the UEFA Nations League games with Wales and Finland.

Doherty started both of the recent games with Bulgaria and Finland, but failed to set the world ablaze with his performances.

Meanwhile, Coleman has impressed during Everton's 100 per cent start to the Premier League season, starting all three games - and impressing - under Carlo Ancelotti.

"These are good problems to have. These are the problems that we want to exist," Kenny said of his selection headache.

"We don't have that situation in every position, but we are pleased that several players are playing regularly in the first team.

"I think this is a lot different than a month ago when obviously the players were in pre-season mode, [they] hadn't played games.

"Seamus has been in fine form, there's no doubt, and that's a good sign."

Two can play that game

In praising both, Kenny says he's sure both players can co-exist in the same side. Doherty has previous in this regard, playing the guts of Wolves' Championship season of 2016/17 at left wing-back.

"We'll do what we feel is right for the game itself, and I think that's the key," Kenny said of his intentions for the game in Slovakia.

"They're both versatile players. Matt Doherty and Seamus Coleman are huge assets to Ireland.

"That's what we want. We want that in all positions if we can have that."

Given Doherty's starting in Ireland's last two outings, Kenny was asked if replacing the Tottenham player with Coleman would be a sign of weakness.

"What anyone else thinks is irrelevant, that's the way I view it," his reply.

"Seamus has been a great captain for Ireland, and a great player and obviously he's started the season well.

"Matt finished the season brilliantly with Wolves, brilliantly! [He] scored a number of goals, been involved in goals every week.

"Obviously the last games for us he was in pre-season mode, he's coming back in a bit.

"I thought his best game for Tottenham was last weekend actually [v Newcastle], he looked really back to himself and did very well. So that bodes well."

Just Williams

Among the less heralded inclusions are Blackburn duo Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams.

Both defenders have been near ever-presents in Ireland panels in recent seasons, and Kenny appears very fond of the latter, "Derrick is a terrific footballer, a very very good footballer.

"He was a left-back for many years, and he's been playing regularly with Darragh Lenihan at left centre-back.

Kenny added, "His versatility is important, and gives us a good option at left-back because he's a good defender.

"The fact that he can play left centre-back is an option. And it's good to have that versatility in the squad."


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Coleman Doherty Finland Ireland Kenny Matt Doherty Nations League Seamus Coleman Slovakia Stephen Kenny Uefa Nations League Wales

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