Long ball tactics aren’t Ireland’s biggest problem
There’s a lot of focus on the long-ball from pundits. I think our troubles were mostly defensive, and mostly about Russian players finding space in the gap between our midfielders and central defenders. Nothing was done to combat this, it was dreadful.
On the ball, our players panicked, especially defenders (especially St. Ledger). They were closed down well by the Russians and this exposed their technical limitations. The same applies to Paul Green, who actually started the game very well from a ball-winning perspective. Whelan was anonymous thoughout.
Saying what changes you’d make is frustrating as Trap won’t make any. Nevertheless, O’Shea should be playing in central defence, no doubt. And, clearly, Kilbane should go as he offers nothing except effort. I’d bring in Fahy for Green (he’s technically better, better first touch) and give Whelan another chance.