JOE looks at the best alternatives to replace Richard Dunne for Ireland 6 years ago

JOE looks at the best alternatives to replace Richard Dunne for Ireland

How do you solve a problem like Richard Dunne?

How do you replace Richard Dunne? This is the burning question on the minds of every Irish football supporter this afternoon, including the iconic Paul McGrath, after one of our greatest ever defenders announced his international retirement.

It's safe to say that John O'Shea will be a definite starter at centre-back for all of Ireland's Euro '16 qualifiers but who should line up next to him?

We already told you some of the lessons that Martin O'Neill may have picked up from the World Cup but the Irish manager has never used the same defensive partnership thus far during his tenure. JOE takes a look at the contenders to fill Dunne's colossal boots.

Ciaran Clark

It surprised us to learn that the Aston Villa defender had made his league debut over five years ago. However, a combination of form and fitness has hampered his international prospects.

He injured his shoulder against Austria last year and saw Nathan Baker take his place in the Villa side.

Clark has some impressive attributes as a defender. He passes it well, can read the game and has good pace but we can't shake the nagging doubt that there is always a mistake or lapse of concentration coming.

If Clark can consistently match the levels he reached during the 0-0 against Sweden away then he is a serious contender.

However, it's telling that he hasn't been chosen to start at centre-back by O'Neill yet.

Ciaran Clark

Richard Keogh

It would be unfair to gauge the Derby defenders international prospects based solely on the recent summer matches.

We imagine his head was fried after that error in the play-off final and it probably contributed to his poor showing against Portugal.

O'Neill clearly rates him, having started him in three of the last four matches, and we think that he has a bright future in the green jersey.

His positional sense is quite good and he strikes us as a no-fuss, no-frills defender. It would be brilliant to see a Premier League team buy the Derby captain because we would like to see him tested regularly at a higher level .

Ireland haven't kept a clean sheet in any of the games that he has started at centre back although he hasn't played alongside O'Shea yet.

We will probably get the nod to start against Georgia away in September.

James McCarthy and Richard Keogh 5/3/2014

Marc Wilson

JOE thinks the Stoke man should be Ireland's first choice left-back rather than a make shift holding midfielder or centre half.

He is tidy on the ball and is willing to link up with his winger but these attributes are better deployed as an attacking full back.

Wilson has played in the middle for three of O'Neill's seven games in charge but we think this was more a case of short-term solution than anything else.

Marc Wilson and Pall Klettskaro 7/6/2013

Damien Delaney

We were shocked to discover that the Crystal Palace defender played 37 times last year for the Eagles but he is still to seriously challenge for a first team place with Ireland.

Since making his international debut in May 2008, the 33-year old has only won nine caps but we have a feeling that if he is given an opportunity he may grab that green jersey and impress.

At his age, Delaney may not provide a long term solution but who cares if he helps us qualify for France.

FBL-WC2014-IRL-PRESSER

Alex Pearce

The Reading man has had mixed fortunes playing as a centre back under the new Ireland regime. He played alongside John O'Shea against Italy at Craven Cottage, in what was Ireland's most impressive performance in recent memory.

It should be noted though that the centre midfield pairing on that day, Hendrick and Meyler, provided excellent cover.

Pearce's next outing was a complete and utter shambles against Portugal which saw him and Keogh torn apart.

A squad member but not a realistic starter we feel.

Alex Pearce

Sean St Ledger

The forgotten man of the Irish national team but we are struggling to think of a time when he actually let us down or didn't perform to the best of his ability.

Okay, he had the colossal Dunne playing next to him but St Ledger has always played well for Ireland.

He is a free agent now but we fear he could be lost to the category of 'always played better for his country than his club'.

We really hope not though, we could use a fully fit and match sharp St Ledger.

Sean St. Ledger 12/6/2013

Shane Duffy

If ever a player needed a full season of playing matches and staying injury-free then it's the talented Everton man.

He is 22 now and needs to deliver on the undoubted potential that he has but it will be hard for him to dislodge Distin, Jagielka and Stones at his club.

With no offence intended, he has played less than 60 games for Burnley, Scunthorpe and Yeovil in his career to date and it's a big leap from the Championship to International football.

Shane Duffy

Paul McShane

Will always be mentioned in lists like this because he is playing for a Premier League club but unfortunately for the Hull City man, we will always have Paris... and other places too.

Any excuse for this.

Clip via - Rolando95

Darren O'Dea

Hasn't been chosen to play yet by O'Neill and unless there is a massive injury crisis he probably won't be.

We imagine the Metalurh Donetsk defender still has nightmares from the 6-1 defeat against Germany.

Darren O'Dea 27/5/2013

So what do you guys think? Who is the man most likely to replace the Iron Curtain/ Honey Monster.