Ireland v Poland: Player Ratings 9 years ago

Ireland v Poland: Player Ratings

Yes we got the win, but it was far from a vintage performance from the Boys in Green against Poland this evening. Here’s how the players rated.

David Forde 6

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Made a couple of decent saves in the first half, but one of those was when he presented the opposition with a glorious opportunity after a horrendous attempt at a clearance. Distribution in general didn’t look great but he was solid enough and had little to do in the second half. Westwood would still be the first choice in our book.

Paul McShane 6

Looked shaky at times in the wake of the incessant Poland attacking in the first half, but for a man who’s more maligned than perhaps any Irish player of his generation, he didn’t do a whole lot wrong this evening and can be happy enough with his display.

John O’Shea 6

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Troubled by the clever running of Lewandowski early on, but gradually got better as the game progressed. O’Shea isn’t a commanding centre-half and looks more uncertain at this level in that position than he did at left back but he’s the best option we have at the moment.

Ciaran Clark 7

Took his goal well with a composed finish but nearly ruined it with a challenge on Lewandowski that probably should have resulted in a penalty immediately afterwards. Careless in possession at times in the first half, but then there wasn’t any Irish player who wasn’t.

Still a little rough around the edges but he’s getting there.

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Greg Cunningham 6

One of the many Irish players who looked better in the second half than they did in the first and gave a decent if unspectacular display overall. The left back spot is very much up for grabs and Cunningham looks more comfortable on the ball than Stephen Ward, who has fallen out of favour as of late. He's in pole position to start against Austria.

Robbie Brady 6

His technical qualities are obvious almost every time he gets on the ball, but in terms of his final touch, he is capable of a lot better than he showed this evening. Brady hasn’t got pace to burn so when his delivery is off he can look ordinary, but he’ll have better days.

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Glenn Whelan 5

The Irish midfield didn’t get a look in for the vast majority of the first half and any time Whelan did get on the ball, he didn’t make much use of it.

That was encapsulated in one cameo when he had plenty of time to try and put Long away but his ball trickled harmlessly back to the Polish ‘keeper. Not at his best before being whipped off for Paul Green at the break, but as an established Trap favourite, he didn’t exactly have anything to prove.

James McCarthy 6

Better in the second half than he was in the first, although that could well be down to the noticeable dip in Polish interest after the break. Encouraging signs here and there, but we’re still waiting for the type of performance for Ireland that he regularly delivers at club level.

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James McClean 5

A year ago, we were all clamouring for McClean to be in the team and now that he’s in it on a fairly regular basis, it’s just not happening for him, as has been the case for long spells with Sunderland this season.

McClean’s direct approach wasn’t helped by the patchy Aviva Stadium pitch, but when he did get the chance to deliver from the wing his final ball left a lot to be desired.

Shane Long 5

Full of running as usual early on, but spent most of his time chasing lost causes before being withdrawn early in the second half. Made a right nuisance of himself in the build up to Clark’s goal but we would have liked to see him linking up with Long rather than coming off in his stead.

Conor Sammon 4

Given the limitless pun potential in his surname, the Derby striker was either going to easily make the leap to international level or look like a fish out of water and unfortunately for him, it was the latter that applied to his performance this evening.

Starved of possession, but when the ball was in his vicinity he didn’t much look like making an impact, his touch was consistently heavy and he wasted a glorious chance to score on the hour mark.

Could be his last appearance at this level for a while, we’re afraid.

Substitutes:

Paul Green 5

Tried harder to break up the play when he came on than the two central midfielders did in the first half, but when he did win it, he looked unsure as to what to do with it. Ireland have better options than Green in midfield, but we still expect to see him around the squad next month.

Wes Hoolahan 7

It took the slightest of deflections, but that was the best goal Ireland have scored in a long time and it was fitting that it was scored by Hoolahan, who in half an hour showed why he should be in Ireland’s starting XI.

Comfortable on the ball and constantly looking to probe in positions that are difficult for the opposition to pick up, he’s the most exciting reason to watch Ireland at the moment. His half-attempt at a Robbie Keane-like barrel-roll to celebrate his goal didn’t really come off but we won’t hold that against him.

Jeff Hendrick 6

Only given 20 minutes in which to make an impact, but he only needed five as his first contribution of note was to chip a lovely ball through to Hoolahan for Ireland’s second goal. Certainly doesn’t seem to be lacking in confidence and hopefully he’ll get another chance to show what he can do in the near future.

Jonathan Walters 5

Wasn’t involved an awful lot when he came on, but played in a position – wide in a three man attack/five-man midfield – where he can definitely do a job in the future. One of the players on show who didn’t need to show Trap what he can do tonight and will be heavily involved next month.

Simon Cox

Trap was never going to let a whole game by without giving one of his favourites a run-out, but Cox wasn’t on long enough to be rated.

Richard Keogh

Nice to make his first appearance for the Boys in Green, but he wasn’t on long enough to be rated

Manager:

Giovanni Trapattoni 5

With the introduction of Hoolahan, Trapattoni finally bowed to the need to change his beloved 4-4-2 formation, which the Poles had exploited ruthlessly in the first half. Still, it would have been nice to have seen Hoolahan play with Long rather than Sammon and for Hendrick and Keogh to be given longer than they were to impress.

The result, as always, is paramount as far as Trapattoni is concerned, but this performance would have done little to convince his growing number of doubters that he is still the right man for the job.