McClean says Ireland need to become nasty again

McClean says Ireland need to become nasty again

Former Ireland player James McClean has claimed that the current Irish team has lost the trait that made them awkward to play against and claims that is needed if they are to make it to 

Ireland, for years, was a team that fought against the odds and fought for everything, being underdogs. However, nowadays, the team is trying to become a more attractive proposition with the ball.

This new way of playing for Ireland only really came into play under Stephen Kenny, and as a result, the Ireland team has had a string of yo-yo results. For example, on Tuesday, Ireland was soundly beaten 3-0 by Euro 2024 contender Portugal.

There is a desire from some for Ireland to go back to the basics when it comes to being nasty and hard to beat.

McClean, who knows all about being gutsy and hard to beat, made it to two tournaments, Euro 2012 and 2016, playing in a gritty way.

The Derry native appeared on RTE and claimed that if Ireland is to be successful again, then going back to what they were good at, which was being nasty, is needed

“It’s a trait (being hard to beat) that served us well. We qualified for two tournaments, Euro 2012 and 2016, and we got to a play-off under Mick McCarthy,” said McClean on RTE.

“If Mick had been in charge, we potentially could have gotten to three-in-a-row with that style of play.

"I think nowadays you can be sucked into the whole [idea of] total football and statistics. Yeah, we had 59% possession, but a lot of it was across the backline, and we lost the game.

“We’ve always been hard to beat, and I think in the last few years we’ve gone away from that. That’s what we built our foundations on—being hard to beat and having a bit of nastiness about us—because you’re always going to get chances in a game."

Speaking after the game, interim boss John O'Shea offered his take on the Portugal rout. The Waterford native said that the Ireland players need to offer more in terms of "dedication and sacrifice."

“They’ve shown it in glimpses, and you have to give more to get to major tournaments in terms of that dedication and sacrifice," said O'Shea.

“It’s about winning competitive matches, and the group has to realise that when they get back to their clubs, they need to get playing as quickly as possible. When you think about it, the games come around so quickly. Lads maybe have decisions to make about the club that they're at or if they are going to get in, if they are going to get playing."

McClean reiterated his point once again and agreed with O'Shea's "hard to beat" comments.

“Hearing those (O'Shea's) comments and seeing the last three games we’ve played, we have become hard to beat again."

Ireland's next game will be against England in September in the Nations League.