Martin O’Neill urges Ireland to ‘get on the ball’ after naming attacking side
Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick and Wes Hoolahan all starting at Stade de France
Wes Hoolahan will start for the Republic of Ireland in the Group E opener against Sweden at Stade de France. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Martin O’Neill has urged his team to “get on the ball” against Sweden after he backed up his claim that Ireland would look to win their opening game of these European Championships by picking what looks to be the most attacking side feasible.
Central defence is the one exception with Shane Duffy’s outstanding performances in the March friendly games not quite enough to play him into the starting line up on this occasion. The Derryman adds a considerable amount to the threat the team poses at set pieces but Ciaran Clark has been preferred, not least for his greater top level experience.
Speaking to RTÉ at the stadium, O’Neill outlined his plans for the opening Group E encounter.
“I think we’ll try to have a bit of fluidity about the team and let’s just try and get on the ball, let’s try and create a few problems for them if we can do,” said O’Neill.
“I think during the time of my tenure, I think that we’ve attempted to go as strongly as we can, certainly optimistically, thinking we can win the game and why shouldn’t we continue in that vein.”
Darren Randolph has, as expected, retained the goalkeeper’s jersey and John O’Shea captains the side.