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22nd Nov 2018

One Of Ireland’s Players Has Given A Scathing Assessment Of O’Neill’s Time In Charge

James Fenton

For the first time in five years, Irish soccer fans woke up this morning with no manager in charge of our national team. The news that Martin O’Neill would be departing his role broke yesterday morning and was met with words of thanks from a number of Ireland players.

One squad member who seemingly isn’t too upset to see O’Neill leave is Matt Doherty, who made his debut and earned four caps during the Derryman’s reign. The full-back was speaking on 2FM’s Game On programme last night and gave an impression that players were unsure of their roles under O’Neill’s management.

Comparing the international set-up to his club situation, the Wolverhampton Wanderers player said:

“You could class it as old-school. When you were away with Ireland, you didn’t really have that much coaching. It was more of five-a-side, or 11-a-side game, and that would be it.

“The day before a game you would do a few set-pieces here and there and then go into the game. You are kind of thinking to yourself, ‘what shape are we going to play?’

You’d have a few players thinking ‘we’ll play this shape’, or someone else thinking something else.

“You can’t have that, especially at international football. People not really sure on what their role is the next day.”

Towards the end of O’Neill’s time in charge, the omission of Doherty from the starting line-up became a talking-point among fans and media as the Dubliner continued to shine in an impressive Wolves team competing in the Premier League. Perhaps this has had an influence on Doherty’s thinking but whatever the case, it’s certainly a damning assessment of his now former manager’s methods.

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