The key talking points ahead of Republic of Ireland’s clash with Switzerland

John O’Shea’s Republic of Ireland will attempt to build upon a creditable draw with Belgium when they welcome Switzerland to the Aviva Stadium on Tuesday evening.

O’Shea, placed in interim charge for two games as the Football Association of Ireland prepares to unveil Stephen Kenny’s successor, presided over a 0-0 draw with the Belgians on Saturday as striker Evan Ferguson saw a first-half penalty saved.

Here, we have a look at some of the talking points surrounding the game.

Making a case?

The process of identifying Kenny’s successor, which has so far extended beyond the four-month mark, is due to draw to a conclusion in April with FAI director of football Marc Canham having indicated an announcement has been delayed by “existing contractual obligations”. Leading candidate Lee Carsley has ruled himself out, sparking fresh speculation over the successful candidate. In the meantime, O’Shea did his blossoming reputation little harm against Belgium by assembling a team which combined defensive solidity with sporadic, but genuine threat to underline his prospects as an international coach.

Swiss role for Jake?

O’Shea’s approach to limiting Belgium’s chances was to employ three central defenders with Dara O’Shea, 25, 22-year-old Nathan Collins and Andrew Omobamidele, 21, asked to form a central trio which performed well. However, Lyon’s Jake O’Brien caught the eye in training in the build-up to the game and it would be no surprise if the 22-year-old was handed a first senior cap following an impressive run of form in Ligue 1.

The kids are all right

If O’Shea in part turned to experience in his first game at the helm, restoring 35-year-old Seamus Coleman and Robbie Brady, 32, to the starting line-up, he also had one eye on the Under-21s when he named his squad. Wolves’ Joe Hodge, currently on loan at QPR, and fellow midfielder Andy Moran, on loan at Blackburn from Brighton, played in Friday night’s 7-0 European Under-21 Championship qualifier victory in San Marino, but joined the senior squad on their return and will hope for senior debuts.

Evan and hell

Evan Ferguson reported for international duty without a goal in 20 games for club Brighton, and the perfect chance to end his barren spell went begging when he slipped as he attempted to convert a penalty and saw Belgium keeper Matz Sels save with his legs. The 19-year-old has enjoyed a swift rise to prominence and his current difficulties are likely to prove temporary.

Night to forget

Ireland’s last meeting with Switzerland proved to be one of those nights. Mick McCarthy’s men arrived in Geneva in October 2019 knowing victory would secure a place at the Euro 2020 finals, but left on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline after a red card for Coleman and Shane Duffy’s late own goal on an evening when keeper Darren Randolph saved a penalty and teenager Aaron Connolly made his first senior start, condemning them to a comprehensive defeat.


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