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Highlights on Off The Ball
Shane Hannon
Shane Hannon

09:15 12 Oct 2020


David Meyler says he is very excited by some of the Republic of Ireland's young midfield options, with Jayson Molumby and Josh Cullen coming in for particular praise on OTB AM.

Stephen Kenny's side played out a drab goalless draw at home to Wales in the Nations League yesterday, with the pair both getting time on the pitch.

Brighton's 21-year-old Molumby was Man of the Match in yesterday's game, and Meyler was certainly enthused by his display throughout.

"Excellent, I'm really excited by him. Obviously being a midfielder I'm biased. I was on the phone to people texting me yesterday saying 'I like the look of this fella'.

"He's big, he's physical, he gets on the ball, and he drives forward with it. I think the big thing with him is, he is someone on his second international appearance going in demanding the ball off the back four at times to try and start the attacks or start the play.

"It's very easy for him to do that with the under-21s when he played under Stephen, then when you come into the senior team and say 'Give me the ball'... It is different.

"I was very encouraged by his performances, he has a really bright future, it was really positive. You can see why he got Man of the Match, he took the game by the scruff of the neck.

"A lot of these young lads come in, and the game can almost pass them by. He certainly wasn't one of those... He was determined to go out and say 'I'm going to affect this game, and I'm going to put in a performance that the manager is going to remember.'"

Kenny went with a more experienced midfield combination for the Slovakia game in Bratislava, and Meyler says those players have done enough of late to be first choice in the middle of the park.

"I think Conor Hourihane, Jeff Hendrick and James McCarthy haven't put a foot wrong in the games they've played.

"Jayson is one that is coming through and moving in the right direction, which is always positive. It's whether Stephen feels comfortable enough to put him in there.

"The Slovakia game was obviously the biggest game of Stephen's four games so far, and he went with the tried and tested midfielders.

"Jayson will get plenty of opportunities and plenty of game time, it's just he needs to keep moving in the right direction. And at his own club, can he force himself into playing first-team football regularly to improve and get better and keep developing?"

Josh Cullen is another player that has caught the eye - with the 24-year-old leaving West Ham towards the end of the transfer window to join Anderlecht in the Belgian league.

Cullen made just 10 senior appearances for West Ham, but impressed during a loan spell with Charlton Athletic. Meyler has compared him to one of Chelsea's impressive midfield contingent.

"I've been very impressed with him in the sense that a lot of lads don't want to make that move abroad. He's going to Anderlecht which is going to be difficult, he's going to be playing top-level football.

"He's the type of midfielder that sits in front of the back four, is very comfortable and is neat in possession.

"The best way to describe him for people who haven't seen a lot of him is someone like a Jorginho, in a sense that he's neat and tidy, gets the ball and distributes it.

"He's nothing flash, nothing over the top, he'll just look to keep Ireland ticking over, moving it side-to-side, moving it forward when he can, but he'll be that anchor man that won't light the world up... He'll be the one breaking up the play and keeping Ireland on the ball."

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Coybig David Meyler Finland Jayson Molumby Josh Cullen Nations League Preview Republic Of Ireland Slovakia Stephen Kenny Wales

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