Ken Early: New era begins with oldest of old-school equalisers
Shane Duffy left it late to make up for his role in Bulgaria’s goal in Sofia
Ireland captain Shane Duffy tackles Bulgaria’s Galin Ivanov during the Uefa Nations League match in Sofia. Photograph: Vassil Donev/EPA
The politics of succession are delicate: how many veterans can you cull in one go? An experienced player who loses his place to a younger rival is unlikely to forget or forgive; 15 years later he’ll probably still be doing bitter interviews about how your training sessions were basic and the step-up to international level was too much for a manager of your pedigree.
You certainly don’t want to have to go crawling back to that experienced player after your much-hyped youngsters have lost their first couple of games. Better to give the experienced ones a chance to show they can stay relevant to the team.