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

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.

The manager has gone for the more positive of his options with Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick and Wes Hoolahan all starting.

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.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND (v Sweden): Darren Randolph; Seamus Coleman, Ciaran Clark, John O'Shea, Robbie Brady; Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, Jeff Hendrick, Wes Hoolahan; Jonathan Walters, Shane Long.

SWEDEN: Andreas Isaksson; Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist, Martin Olsson; Sebastian Larsson, Kim Kallstrom, Oscar Lewicki, Emil Forsberg, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Berg.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times