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Brian Kerr on why Seamus Colem...
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Brian Kerr on why Seamus Coleman edges out Matt Doherty for Ireland

Paul Moore
Paul Moore

21:02 13 Sep 2020

Two Irish internationals faced-off in their Premier League season opener between Spurs and Everton and Brian Kerr feels Seamus Coleman has the edge on Matt Doherty for one important reason.

While Stephen Kenny will be disappointed with the results from his first two games in charge of the Irish senior team, the results against Bulgaria and Finland could be insignificant if the boys in green beat Slovakia in their Euro 2020 playoff.

Granted, the Nations League has its merits and importance, but if Ireland win in Slovakia, very few people will care about the last two fixtures.

However, one selection dilemma that's bound to be a frequent issue during Kenny's tenure is the position of right-back as Matt Doherty and Seamus Coleman vie for the position.

With 15 goals and 15 assists in the past two seasons at Wolves, Matt Doherty is second only to Trent Alexander-Arnold as the Premier League’s most productive right-back/right wing-back.

As for Seamus Coleman, the former Sligo Rovers man has consistently been the most consistent player in Ireland's team and the man that sets the standard for everyone to follow.

Aside from this, Coleman is also still delivering decent performances for Everton, as seen by his side's win over Doherty's Wolves.

Matt Doherty v Seamus Coleman

Speaking with Off The Ball, Brian Kerr makes an important distinction with regards to why he'd opt to start Doherty vs Slovakia and it's due to Ireland's preferred formation.

During his tenure as the manager of Dundalk and the Irish u-21s, Kenny has always favoured a back-four and he continued this trend by playing a back-four vs Bulgaria and Finland.

While Doherty wasn't exactly poor, Kerr believes that he's more suited to playing wing-back, while Coleman is a batter operator in a traditional back-four unit.

When asked if today's "head-to-head" between Doherty and Coleman might have any impact on Kenny's thinking for the Slovakia game, Kerr said: "There's very little that Stephen Kenny didn't know in advance of his selection vs Bulgaria - that he didn't know already - that he learned today.

Formation

"Still, he decided to pick Doherty in the two games. The key match is Slovakia, that's the one that really matters. I think he had a good look at 18 players in the two games, but looking at today, if it was my judgement, Seamus Coleman was the better right-back in a four - from a defensive point of view.

"If that's what you want from a right-back, to defend in that area of the pitch and attack when the opportunity arises.  Stephen may have a different vision for what we wants from his full-backs. When you look at the average positions of Enda Stevens and Matt Doherty in the two Ireland games, they were in advanced position near the halfway line.

"If Stephen wants his full-backs to start there, he probably feels that Doherty is the best option. If I was manager, I'd prefer my right-back not to start quite so high up the pitch and to be in touch with his centre-backs in terms of a defensive unit that starts against Slovakia."

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Brian Kerr Coleman Doherty Ireland Matt Doherty Seamus Coleman

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