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15th Nov 2013

Ireland v Latvia Player Ratings

So the first game of the Martin O'Neill/Roy Keane era is in the books and it was a comfortable 3-0 win for Ireland. Here's how we thought the players fared.


So the first game of the Martin O’Neill/Roy Keane era is in the books and it was a comfortable 3-0 win for Ireland. Here’s how we thought the players fared.

With the large crowd sent home very happy, here’s how the players, and the management, did at Aviva Stadium tonight.

Keiren Westwood 7

Considering Latvia didn’t muster a shot on target it is hard to rate him but we’ll give him a standard 7 just for not falling asleep.

Seamus Coleman 7

With the Irish attacks coming mainly down the left flank, the Donegal man wasn’t that prominent in the Latvian half in the first 45. Still, his occasional first-half foray produced a few decent crosses and in the second half he was even more attacking, setting up Long’s goal after a lung-busting run.

John O’Shea 7

With more time on his hands than a clockmaker, O’Shea’s most telling contribution was at the other end when a diving header almost set Robbie up for a goal.

Marc Wilson 7

Perhaps the oddest selection buy O’Neill but the Stoke man had so little to do at the centre of defence that it is hard to know if he can make a permanent claim. Made a decent block on a rare Latvian second half attack.

Stephen Ward 6

There was a lot of action going on in front of him on the left, and when he joined in, he was often the weakest link, taking the wrong option or slowing down the game.

Aiden McGeady 8

Probably his best game in green and the our choice for man of the match. Popping up all over the pitch, delivering quality ball with his RIGHT foot, and linking up superbly with Messrs McClean and Hoolahan, he seemed to thrive under his old boss O’Neill. Deserved his goal, cracked home from distance with his right foot from outside the box. It was the winger’s first international goal in two years. Let’s hope we see a few more in the coming seasons.

James McCarthy 7

Probably the quietest of the midfield five, but tidy and sharp and had a lash at goal a few times too. Again, hard to judge as Latvia were so uninterested in putting any pressure on. Replaced by Kevin Doyle with 10 to go.

Glenn Whelan 8

The defensive lynchpin, the Dubliner performed his role well. Made on superb run to track a dangerous Latvian burst on the half hour and break up a goal chance, while we will give him one extra mark for his magnificent moustache.

James McClean 7

Like McGeady, another player who looked delighted to be back under the tutelage of O’Neill. Started brightly and was a constant threat down the flank, though we wish he would stop having potshots with his right peg. Worked well on either flank all night and looks a certainty to be a mainstay under O’Neill.

Wes Hoolahan 7

It was a big night for the Norwich man to try and impress and we feel he did. Linked up play very well, his passing was accurate and it was great to see Ireland pass it about, with a real playmaker at the heart of it.

Robbie Keane 8

Another game, another goal, the Robbie legend continues. Took his goal well, and was constantly sniffing out chances. Looked thrilled to have support players around him, rather than 40 yards away as was often the case in the Trap era.


Andy Reid: 6

On for the excellent McGeady, he actually took the Hoolahan role. Had one cracking long-range effort shortly after he arrived

Jon Walters 6

Played a part in the Long goal, and slotted into his usual role on the right with ease.

Shane Long 7

A goal within six minutes of his introduction, he looked a hungry fella and he is a superb player to have on the bench.

Anthony Stokes, Paul Green, Kevin Doyle

Not on long enough to rate

Manager: 8

With Latvia not too interested in playing, we won’t rush to judgement but there were a lot of positives tonight. The players controlled the game, passed it around, and the flanks were utilised effectively, an O’Neill trait. The five-man midfield, pressing their opponents high up the pitch, was a welcome sight, and long balls up to Robbie were rare to non-existent.

A few more goals would have been nice, but as starts go, it was a good one.