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Thread: Out with the old, in with the new

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    Out with the old, in with the new

    Kenny's first challenge is to put out to pasture some of those great servants of Irish football over the years who unfortunately are past their best or just never had a sufficient level of ability to be consistent performers at International level.

    Luckily we have a glut of potential talent coming through to replace them. The question I wish to pose is which players are ready to make the step up to be first team regulars in time for the play-offs in October and which if we were to qualify could become regulars by the time the finals were to begin next year.

    Let's review the contenders in order of how close each is to being ready to make the step up to being a regular for the senior team.

    Jayson Molumby - Midfielder - 20 - Millwall (On loan from Brighton)
    Coming to then end of his breakthrough season on loan to Millwall where he has been one of their standout performers. He is perhaps the only player in this list that is already ready to be a first team Irish International. A box to box midfielder with bundles of energy, strong in the tackle and an eye for a pass he must be considered a capable replacement for the aging Glenn Whelan.

    Will Smallbone - Midfielder - 20 - Southampton
    Has now become a regular in a very decent Southampton midfield, occasionally starting but also making appearances from the bench. One of the nominees along with Idah and Connolly for U23 player of the year last season he has looked the most comfortable of the three when playing in the Premiership. A more creative midfielder than Molumby he may offer the flair our midfield has so often lacked in recent years. If he continues to progress with Southampton he should be given a chance in the next set of friendlies in place of Hourihane who is often found wanting at the top level of football.

    Aaron Connolly - Forward - 20 - Brighton
    Connolly has often struggled to find chances and goals to come by in a poor Brighton team despite an impressive number of appearances. How much of that is his fault and how much of it is due to the inability of his midfielders to impose themselves on the game is debatable but bar the occasional flash of class he has often failed to justify his place in the team. Personally I think he looks very raw and currently lacks the strength and awareness of what’s going on around him to be successful in the Premiership but with Shane Long and Callum Robinson also not pulling up any trees for their respective clubs he should be at least be considered as an option come October.

    Michael Obafemi - Striker - 19 - Southampton
    Another striker who has notched up a considerable amount of appearances for his club this season, he has scored 3 goals across all competitions for Southampton. Quick and strong he at least has the basic attributes to succeed at the top but he has been criticized by his own manager for often going missing in games and he suffers from the same issues as Connolly regarding his lack of awareness. As with Connolly these limitations can be rectified as he gets more experience but even so with a lack of decent alternatives he should at least be considered an option for the next set of friendlies.

    Adam Idah - Striker - 19 - Southampton
    Of the forwards mentioned here Idah has improved the most throughout the season. If he gets more minutes for an almost relegated Norwich he could easily overtake both Obafemi and Connolly as a viable alternative to our current forward options for the play off games. He has the physicality that Connolly lacks and a higher workrate than Obafemi. He also looks to have a more clinical edge than both.

    Jason Knight - Midfielder - 19 - Derby
    Has been a regular performer all season for a very decent Derby team pushing for a play-off place in the Championship. He lacks consistency but is highly thought of by the Derby fans and has bagged 3 goals this term. Can play anywhere across the midfield and started on the left in Derby’s last match so perhaps he could soon be considered as a replacement for the very limited McClean.

    Troy Parrott - Striker - 18 - Spurs
    A disappointing season for Parrott after his fine pre-season form suggested he may be ready for some first team appearances. Unfortunately Mourinho has not given him the chances he needs and perhaps a loan move would be best for him for next season. On paper he looks the most promising of all our young strikers and if he hits the ground running early next season either at Spurs or on loan at a Championship club then he should be considered for the Irish team.
    Last edited by youngirish; 02/07/2020 at 9:53 PM.

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    At the moment I would say all of those, bar Parrott, have a chance of being in the squad. I would probably add Dara O'Shea too

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    I think it's an appropriate time now for Paul to emerge from his lock down and state emphatically in this thread - most emphatically, which of those kids will make it onto the Irish first team, or just a squad member or just reach the lowest level of football existence - the LOI. No fannying about with fall back clauses.

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    Here's my take for what it's worth

    Jayson Molumby - Midfielder - 20 - Millwall (On loan from Brighton)

    I'd be putting Molumby straight in there. While he can play the holding midfield role that's not where I'd pick him because he's wasted a bit in that role. More of a box to box midfielder for me. But he'd be in my team.

    Will Smallbone - Midfielder - 20 - Southampton

    If Kenny is intent on picking a 10 he looks like the best bet at the moment. I'm not sure I'd want an out and out 10 in Slovakia though. I probably wouldn't start him in the playoffs but I'd definitely like to see him capped in the nations league.

    Aaron Connolly - Forward - 20 - Brighton

    I still think Connolly is better out wide than through the middle. But Brighton don't play that way so we never get to see the best of him at club level. I'd start him in the McClean role and I'd hold McClean back as a sub to run at tired defenders in the last half hour if we need a goal. I've always thought he was better in that situation.

    Michael Obafemi - Striker - 19 - Southampton

    I still can't figure out whether this lad is going to be a Premier League star or whether he'll end up falling down the leagues, it could still go either way I think. I'd probably leave him with the 21s for now.

    Adam Idah - Striker - 19 - Southampton

    Has looked good in his appearances for Norwich and should have a big future ahead of him. The playoffs might come too soon though.

    Jason Knight - Midfielder - 19 - Derby

    Similar to Idah I have high hopes for Jason Knight. May be a year or so away from being a senior starter though, he could take on the Molumby role for the 21s this autumn.

    Troy Parrott - Striker - 18 - Spurs

    I still think he has potentially the highest ceiling of all our young players. If he gets a good loan move he could develop into a senior team regular for us very quickly. However if he stays in the Spurs reserves he'll be with our Under 21s in the Autumn.

    One other player I'd add to the list is Josh Cullen. I'd start McCarthy in front of the back four for the playoffs if he's fit and available, but he often isn't and if that's the case I'd have no hesitation throwing in Cullen.

    Dara O'Shea also looks like a talent who is ready to play but it's harder to break into our defence so he may have to wait a while.

    The goalkeeper position could also become interesting if Randolph continues to not play for West Ham. A good move for O'Hara or a positive loan move or run in the first team for Travers could bring them into contention.

    Here's a rough lineup for the Slovakia game (4-3-3):

    GK: Randolph
    RB: Coleman/Doherty
    LB: Stevens
    CB: Duffy
    CB: Egan/Clark
    CDM: McCarthy/Cullen
    CM: Molumby
    CM: Hendrick/Hourihane
    LWF: Connolly
    RWF: Long
    ST: McGoldrick

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eirambler View Post


    GK: Randolph
    RB: Coleman/Doherty
    LB: Stevens
    CB: Duffy
    CB: Egan/Clark
    CDM: McCarthy/Cullen
    CM: Molumby
    CM: Hendrick/Hourihane
    LWF: Connolly
    RWF: Long
    ST: McGoldrick
    I would probably go along with that team, probably apart from Hourihan. Seems to be the epitemy of "nice footballer" that doesnt really contribute anything

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    I know what you mean. The thing with that team is, if you don't pick him, there's not a huge amount there in terms of delivering set pieces. If Robbie Brady could find some form he would be another option with that though.

    Probably set pieces won't be as big a part of our game under Kenny as they were under previous managers. But you only have to look at the greatest goals thread to see how many we've scored from them down the years, so it needs to be taken into consideration.

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    I think the timeline of the upcoming games should be taken into account when deciding who to blood in at what point. The first two Nations League games should be viewed as build-up to the Slovakia play-off, especially as they will be the first two games of Kenny's reign, so he may wish to focus on his gameplan more than personnel. So the squad should probably have continuity from Mick's run. Players like Doherty, Egan, Browne, Cullen and a resurgent Hogan all have fewer than ten caps and could do with the game time, as could Randolph, if he doesn't get off the bench for West Ham between now and then. Although you could find some time for Connolly and Obafemi, as they are the most advanced of our young striker quartet, notwithstanding a late run of games for Adam Idah.

    If we get knocked out by Slovakia, then experiment away. However, if we get to the play-off final, then the two Nations League games in October 11th and 14th become build-up games for it - although Kenny may want to rest some players for the Wales game, as it would be only three days after the play-off semi.

    Complicating matters further are the U21 qualifiers - while it makes sense to include Connolly and Obafemi in the senior squad and leave Parrott and Idah to finish up the campaign they've started, it becomes tricky when you talk about taking Molumby and Knight away, as they will be very important to the chances of the U21s. It may seem a little cynical and unfair, but if there's one young midfielder who we could do with giving a cap to, it may be Will Smallbone.

    Other players I would consider for debut caps would be Ryan Manning, off the back of a good season at QPR, Conor Masterson after breaking through there (although he may stay with the 21s) and maybe even Olamide Shodipo, now that he's back playing in The Championship. I also mentioned in the Potentially Eligible Players thread that Kenny should sound out Chiedozie Ogbene's intentions and, if he's interested cap him in one of the Nations League games - am I right in saying that we have no out-and-out right winger currently? If so, Ogbene might fill that gap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by geysir View Post
    I think it's an appropriate time now for Paul to emerge from his lock down and state emphatically in this thread - most emphatically, which of those kids will make it onto the Irish first team, or just a squad member or just reach the lowest level of football existence - the LOI. No fannying about with fall back clauses.
    Ah no we'll leave that to you, we all know how good you are at playing stick or twist.
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    Just feed me more VB,Just pour my beer,And get my smokes, And go away

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul_oshea View Post
    Ah no we'll leave that to you, we all know how good you are at playing stick or twist.
    Who are the "we"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by youngirish View Post
    Kenny's first challenge is to put out to pasture .....Let's review the contenders in order of how close each is to being ready to make the step up to being a regular for the senior team.
    It's fair to say that quite a few of our players have threaded water for a while now - either as starters, or as filler. Brady, Hendrick, Hourihane, Duffy - even Randolph from my own perspective, although that could be attributed to being slightly irrational - Judge, O'Dowda, Hogan, Collins, and Browne. For some, it's hard to be selected, for others it's time to **** or get off the pot.

    The list below I wouldn't think is non-exhaustive either, I might suggest a couple of other "mature" candidates, who I think could add value in certain situations. It's important to look at Kenny's history, his teams have always played football, and he likes his schemers. I think he's in the enviable position of having a number of both, centrally and out-wide.

    Jayson Molumby - Midfielder - 20 - Millwall (On loan from Brighton)
    I would put myself up there as Whelan's biggest supporter, but his time is gone. A fit James McCarthy is best placed to sit in there, but it's worth noting that Kenny used a central two with the 21s to good effect, so may continue that with the senior team. If so, I would be very happy to see a JJx2 in there. The boy is calm, composed but he's tenacious as well, and can pick a pass.

    Aaron Connolly - Forward - 20 - Brighton
    Will Smallbone - Midfielder - 20 - Southampton
    Adam Idah - Striker - 19 - Southampton
    Jason Knight - Midfielder - 19 - Derby
    Troy Parrott - Striker - 18 - Spurs
    Michael Obafemi - Striker - 19 - Southampton
    The first three will be in the squad, and should be. Of the latter three, Obafemi has the best chance.

    I've been scathing of selection policy in the past, probably a little unfairly, but such is life. I think we all have been guilty of looking at a players club and justifying selections based on the scale of the club, rather than the merits of a player in what is a very cliquey english football pyramid.

    I believe we have good options open to us. It pains me to see James McClean being selected so often for us, because I think it immediately cedes advantage to the opposition. I fully understand that he works hard, but for me it's a sign that we don't expect to have the ball and that we will funnel back. It would be nice to think that soon we'll have game plan based on keeping the ball, as I think we've the players to do it.

    Connor Ronan fits into your young catagory, and should be close to consideration, as does Ronan Curtis, a kid I've a lot of time for. To me he looks like the kinda boy who needs to be told "you have a superstar inside you, let him out, show the world", and I think Kenny is that kind of manager. Graham Carey doesn't fit into that category of young tyro - but should be under consideration too.

    They are very similar players, they are creators, and we've lacked any sort of dynanism or creativity outside of McGoldrick. if it's one thing that I'm looking forward to, it's seeing guys being picked in the positions where they can do most damage. We've got - being fair - 4 players who deserve to be in the team without even thinking about it: Coleman, Doherty, Egan & Stevens; the rest are open spaces. It excites me to imagine how he's going to go about fitting them into a side.

    Part of me can't get away from the fact that a 3-4-3 or something of that ilk will suit us best. Seamus is doing well defensively, but has lost his ability to get up into the offensive positions effectively. On the flipside Doherty is excellent in sneaking into the attacking positions wide right.

    Could Connolly be the one to start wide left, or inside left behind a central striker? I think so. Is Will Smallbone likely to start in the advanced central position? Unlikely for me, as it's where I'd put McGoldrick. But if you're putting Didsy there - and I think it's where you get the best from him - then you've got a big gaping hole up front, and Idah is as good an option as there is there at the moment. James Collins didn't really get an opportunity/isn't good enough; Shane Long we know what he's about/isn't getting much game time; Scott Hogan - f'ck off. That leaves Seanie Maguire, and to be honest, I'd be willing to let Idah get the run.
    I've seen him a lot, and he's improving as he goes along. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, any time I see him play, I think Pippo Inzaghi. He's strong, he's quick, he's not technically amazing, but he gets chances. He scores goals. And he gets caught offside a lot.

    Our first game is away to a Bulgaria side who, lets be frank here, are as awful as they've ever been. They are absolutely there for the taking, and if we're aggressive with them, then we can get on the front foot quickly. Then Finland. Fi land qualified for Euro2020 essentially by beating Armenia and Liechtenstein home and away, getting a win over Greece and Bosnia. There is absolutely nothing to be fearful of there, and we've set ourselves up for the game with Slovakia, with two games that we couldn't have picked better, if we want to try and introduce new players to the team, new players to the squad, change the playing style and remaining competitive.

    I could see Kenny going with a 3-4-3 with
    Seamus-duffy-Egan
    Doherty-McCarthy-Molumby-Stevens
    -- McGoldrick-Connolly
    ------- ------Idah

    I think thats the most you can hope for at the moment starting, but the bench absolutely could contain Smallbone, Obafemi, Ronan, Curtis, Lee O'Connor.

    Of course, there is a bigger picture here. and it's this. If these guys (O'Shea, Collins, Knight, O'Connor, Obafemi) aren't ready for the first team squad, then it behoves us to leave them with the 21s who are in an exceptional position. We've never made a 21s finals, and it has hurt us over the years not being competitive at that level, as lads drift. These guys stop playing international football against lads they have equalled at 19s level, and then by the time they are face-to-face at senior level, there is an awe there. Success - true success that lasts - is incremental. reaching a 21s spurs on the 19s to go one step better. We've never faced up to this, and settle for one decent underage side a generation.
    That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age

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    Although "out with the old, in with the new" is the thread title I think it may take a little longer for it to actually happen.

    Realistically none of the back 5 will be replaced by anyone younger. If we changed the formation and went 3 / 5 at the back my guess is it'd still favour experienced players like Clark, Coleman and Doherty.

    Cullen looks the ready made replacement for Whelan and I expect will come straight in. [Edit: I forgot James McCarthy - though it kind of backs up my main point, which is that the "Kenny's Kids" revolution may be a while away yet]

    Dids & Shane Long would be my forwards, possibly with Connolly on the left of a 3. Molumby or Smallbone could find a way into midfield. Smallbone should be capped early tactically. In my opinion there are easily 5-8 players that could become mainstays in the squad rather than the team - Idah, Parrott, Jack Byrne, Obafemi, Masterson, O'Shea, Collins...but a balance has to be found between giving squad experience to players not quite ready for senior international football and not compromising the U21s. Letting the U21s finish the job is really impprtant imho.

    I think McClean's time as an automatic starter might be up, with Connolly or Brady gaining his place. Whelan's time will surely be up. Robinson will probably be less close to the starting XI. Hendrick's role less certain but I actually think he could do well under Kenny and I think Brady and he could rediscover their Euro 2016 exuberance under Kenny. Browne probably a bit closer to be a certain starter. So none of this leaves much room for wholesale changes, and few in the direction of youth.
    Last edited by Stuttgart88; 06/07/2020 at 10:13 AM.

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    Great post Kingdom, although you sound a bit like David O'Leary with all the 'kid' and 'boy' talk (my babies ).
    Would love to see that starting XI.

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    There seems to be a worrying gap in generations in the team at the moment that will make for a rough transition over the coming years. How many players do we have born between 1993-1998 that are good enough and have come through? Cullen and Browne maybe? It's great having the very young players in the U21s but making sure they bed in slowly is going to be very tricky.

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    Lot of people seem to call for Kenny to go 3-4-3 or 5-3-2 or this sort of craic. He's a 4-3-3 manager, always has been, and I'd be surprised if he changes that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColourfulPeanut View Post
    There seems to be a worrying gap in generations in the team at the moment that will make for a rough transition over the coming years. How many players do we have born between 1993-1998 that are good enough and have come through? Cullen and Browne maybe? It's great having the very young players in the U21s but making sure they bed in slowly is going to be very tricky.
    I don't think it's going to be much of a problem - firstly the 93-98 group also includes Robinson, Curtis, Manning, Williams, Lenihan, Maguire and O'Dowda (may be able to add Sadlier next season) - not overly inspiring but fairly solid. Second (and more importantly), the 90-92 group is pretty strong - Duffy, Stevens, Doherty, K. Long, Christie, Egan, McCarthy, Brady, Hendrick, Hourihane, Hogan - they should all be around for the next two or three campaigns. And thirdly, I don't think we're going to need to wait that much longer for a big group of U21s to merit a call-up, if they haven't already received it - there's probably about a dozen who Kenny could justify playing at some point in the Nations League - In fact you could probably put out the following XI and it wouldn't be ridiculous, as all but one have Premier League or Championship experience:

    -------------Travers------------------

    O'Shea Masterson Collins T. O'Connor

    -----Smallbone Molumby Knight-----

    -------Obafemi Idah Connolly-------
    Last edited by samhaydenjr; 07/07/2020 at 4:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nigel-harps1954 View Post
    Lot of people seem to call for Kenny to go 3-4-3 or 5-3-2 or this sort of craic. He's a 4-3-3 manager, always has been, and I'd be surprised if he changes that.
    I suppose it'd be nice if he was open to a system that might accommodate getting our best players into the side, without putting square pegs in round holes (might be the case with Coleman above). If he has been that consistent in terms of choosing 4-3-3 over his career though, then you're probably right. Saw a little bit of a discussion with Gary Breen on OFB discussing same, Breen said the wing back formation looks great on paper but can't see Kenny actually doing it. I think his reasoning was more to do with it being more difficult to dominate the ball in midfield, rather than knowing anything about Kenny's preferred formation though.

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    The whole Irish system in recent years has been built around playing 4-3-3 from the youth setup through to the seniors. So I'd imagine that will continue for now.

    It's hard to ignore what the likes of Sheffield United are achieving on a limited budget with 3-5-2 though, it looks like a formation coming back into style and could replace 4-3-3 in the same way 4-3-3 replaced 4-4-2 in the last 20 years. It also suits our strengths in the centre back and wing back position.

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    Seems to me that 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 only serves to suit putting both Doherty and Coleman in the team.

    It might work for Sheff utd, but there's no guarantees it'll work for Ireland.

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    The 3-5-2 does appear to have a sell by date too, even for teams who have had success with it initially. I remember Roy Evans using it to good effect at Liverpool for a while, with McAteer one of the wing backs, but it was gradually figured out and exposed by opposing sides. Similar with Martin O'Neill at Celtic, he eventually changed to four at the back too despite winning a lot of trophies with 3-5-2.

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    3-5-2 suits us for many reasons really. Doherty, Egan, Clarke and Stephens have all excelled in the formation at Premier League level. Obviously would allow also potentially allow us play Coleman and Doherty together as well. Would really let us tap into the depth we have at centre back as well. McGoldrick plays better in a 2 as well and wouldn't be so isolated, while also having the ability to drop into midfield to recieve the ball which he's quite good at.

    It makes too much sense not to at least try it.

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