How Wales should line-up against Ireland after three important players pull out
Ryan Giggs will have to shuffle his pack on Tuesday when they play Ireland in their UEFA Nations League clash.
Chris Mepham and Ethan Ampadu were early withdrawals, whilst Gareth Bale pulled out today. This was despite the best efforts, to get the Madrid star to full fitness.
This isn’t the first time that Wales have been without their marquee player. They lost 4-1 to Spain at the Principality Stadium.
But Ireland are a different kind of opposition to Spain. Ireland have also played competitively recently, holding Denmark to a goalless draw.
The result means the group is wide open. Denmark top it on four points, but should Wales win their next two games, they could win the group and be in a good position for qualification for the European Championships.
So with a possible promotion on the cards, should Wales win their next two. Here’s how I feel Wales should line up against Ireland, in their penultimate UEFA Nations League fixture.
GK: Wayne Hennessey
Hennessey did okay in a tough fixture against Spain. The Palace keeper wasn’t at sole fault for the goals. His experience in this one gives him the nod over Adam Davies and Danny Ward.
RB: Connor Roberts
Connor Roberts enjoyed a competitive debut for Wales against Ireland last month, scoring in the 4-1 rout at the Cardiff City Stadium.
It was a difficult night against Spain, but Roberts was capable of dealing with the threat of Ireland last month and is a good option as a wing-back.
CB: James Chester
There will need to be some experience in the centre of this Wales backline. It was Williams and Mepham who played against Ireland last month, but this time, it should be the centre-back partnership of Chester and Rodon.
Chester has played more minutes than Wales captain Ashley Williams this season, with the Stoke City defender left out of the squad against Denmark last month.
CB: Joe Rodon
He was initially meant to be in the Under-21s squad, but after an injury to Paul Dummett, Swansea City defender Joe Rodon was called up.
After an injury to Christopher Mepham, Wales have just three centre-backs to choose from.
After Giggs gave competitive debuts to three players last month against Ireland, he could consider giving a chance to Rodon.
Ireland’s opted to go with Shane Long up front against Denmark and that’s unlikely to change. Rodon could thrive against a forward, who is currently out of form.
LB: Ben Davies
Davies played as a centre-back against Spain, but was unable to stop the prolific Spanish attack. For the Ireland game, Davies should revert to his usual role, which he plays for his club, Tottenham Hotspur.
Davies is able to both defend and attack, playing at centre-back restricts his attacking abilities.
CM: Aaron Ramsey (C)
With Williams dropped by myself for this one and Gareth Bale unable to play, I believe the captains’ armband should return to former captain Aaron Ramsey.
Ramsey is Wales’ second most important player and he makes them tick.
CM: Joe Allen
Allen enjoyed playing against Ireland last month, covering a lot of ground, making a number of key tackles.
He’s the box to box midfielder who breaks up play and begins Wales counter-attacks. The Stoke City midfielder is vital to Wales and adds balance, to the attacking options of Ramsey and Smith.
CM: Matthew Smith
Smith shone for Wales in what was a convincing victory for Spain on Thursday. He played a part in the consolation goal, winning the ball back before Brooks set it up for Vokes.
After his performance on Thursday, Smith should be in contention for a second competitive appearance for Wales.
RW: David Brooks
Brooks set up Vokes on Thursday for Wales’ only goal and impressed having come on at half-time. The Bournemouth attacker is enjoying life in the Premier League and his progress is showing.
ST: Sam Vokes
With a tall-centre back like Shane Duffy and other centre-backs like Long and Keogh, Wales are going to have to be physical too. Vokes can be used as a battering ram, to use his height to roughen up the centre-backs.
LW: Harry Wilson
Harry Wilson had glimpses in the first half for Wales, despite being under the cosh. His free-kick almost tested De Gea and his corner almost resulted in a goal.
He just about shades a starting opportunity, over his club teammate Tom Lawrence.
(Featured Image: Matthew Lofthouse)