Ireland v Sweden: Player Ratings
On a very satisfying night for the Boys in Green in Stockholm, here’s how we rated the individual performances of the Irish players.
David Forde 8
The Galway man made two excellent saves in the first-half, prevented disaster right at the finish and was very commanding under the high ball on a number of occasions. Excellent display that will have done wonders for his confidence.
Seamus Coleman 8
Not as prominent in the second half as he was in the first, but was very comfortable on the ball, looked dangerous going forward and the only blot on his copybook was an attempt to take on Zlatan near his own box that he fortunately got away with.
Ciaran Clark 7
Barely noticed – in a good way – in the first half but was solid when required and made a couple of vital interceptions the more Sweden came into the game as it progressed. Can be happy with his contribution.
John O’Shea 7
Had plenty on his plate with the lively Hysen in the first half, but like Clark he never really looked in danger and it is a credit to himself and his central defensive partner that Zlatan has rarely been as ineffective as he was tonight.
Marc Wilson 7
Not as adventurous as Coleman in the first half, but was on the ball far more than the Everton man in the second half and always looked at ease when he was. His performances since he has been elevated into the first team have shown what a shame it was that he wasn’t promoted sooner.
Jonathan Walters 6
Linked-up well with Coleman at times in the first-half, but despite working hard in what isn’t his preferred position, he was fairly quiet overall.
Paul Green 6
The much-maligned Leeds man put in a good shift for most of the game before fading late on, frustrating Sweden in possession and clogging up the space in which Zlatan had to work in.
Wasn’t great in possession but we didn’t really expect that. Decent foil for McCarthy and may even start regardless of Glenn Whelan’s fitness on Tuesday.
James McCarthy 9
No offence to Glenn Whelan but thank God he didn’t make it because McCarthy was by far and away Ireland’s best performer on the night.
There were signs of it in the Faroes but this was arguably the first time we saw the McCarthy who has been making the big clubs sit up and take notice in the Premier League as he dictated the play and constantly hustled the opposition midfield.
Final ball let him down once or twice but that would be splitting hairs really. Fine display.
James McClean 8
McClean’s performance was another huge positive from an Irish point of view and he was our outstanding performer in the first half, taking the game to Lustig at every opportunity and eventually forcing his removal at the break.
Understandably tired a little in the second half, but this was probably his best game in a green jersey to date.
Robbie Keane 6
A fresh-air hack at a McClean corner aside, Keane was excellent in the first half and like McClean, McCarthy and Green, pressed the opposition very effectively indeed.
After the break, however, the dip in Keane’s display was noticeable and it wasn’t really a surprise when he was withdrawn for Wes Hoolahan late on.
Shane Long 6
No complaints about his work-rate and application; he ran himself into the ground and made a nuisance out of himself throughout, much to the annoyance of his club colleague Jonas Olsson.
The quality and composure was missing, however, particularly when he skied a great chance over the bar in the first half. That said, he’s still the right man to lead the line in the Irish attack.
Wes Hoolahan 6
Only got 15 minutes, but his desire to get on the ball and willingness to get into awkward positions for the opposition was noticeable in his brief cameo.
Andy Keogh Not on long enough to be rated
Conor Sammon Not on long enough to be rated
Giovanni Trapattoni 6
By rights Trapattoni should be given credit for Ireland’s performance but it was possibly only by default because it was the forced removal of Glenn Whelan that allowed for the introduction of James McCarthy, our best player on the night.
It also could be argued that after his treatment of Robbie Brady he should have looked to involve him at some stage, but his decision to go with Paul Green was vindicated to an extent.
Ireland’s performance has probably bought him some time but it won’t exactly see his popularity soar amongst Irish supporters.