Colin Doyle and Seamus Coleman to return to Ireland team in friendly with Turkey

Colin Doyle and Seamus Coleman to return to Ireland team in friendly with Turkey

Colin Doyle will make a long-awaited Republic of Ireland return in tonight's international friendly away to Turkey.

Manager Martin O'Neil has confirmed the Bradford City goalkeeper will start, as Darren Randolph, Keiren Westwood and Rob Elliot are all absent.

The 32-year-old Cork man will be earning his second cap ten years and 304 days after making his international debut under Steve Staunton.

Seamus Coleman, Sean Maguire and Declan Rice are also expected to be named in the starting line up this evening.

Speaking yesterday about his goalkeeper situation, O'Neil said: “I think (Kieran) O’Hara is still learning the game and initially he would have been coming to join us here more for the experience than anything else but the way things develop and transpire it is always a possibility (he will play),” said O’Neill.

But I wouldn’t actually be thinking of starting him in the game. At this minute, I think I would hand that to Doyle.

O'Neil also hinted that he might take the opportunity to experiment, either at the start or during the game, with a 3-5-2 formation.

“We could play three centre-backs, we could play two wing-backs, it is certainly a thought,” he said.

“If that is the case, Seamus (Coleman) can cope with any of that and it might be a matter of getting two centre-forwards playing as well in the side. There are a number of options. We would love to still do well in the game and have some experienced players playing to help the younger lads out. We’re looking forward to it.”

Seamus Coleman
Seamus Coleman

Certainly, O’Neill is not short of defensive picks as he draws up his plans, though whether he chooses to deploy West Ham’s Declan Rice in midfield or at the back, remains to be seen.

“We have enough, we’ve brought quite a number of central defenders if you consider young Rice might be able to play that position as well,” the manager said.

“Shane Duffy has done exceptionally well in the last couple of seasons and particularly I think he could easily have started in the Euros in the game against Sweden. (To start against Italy) was a massive leap for him considering that when I saw him playing for Yeovil, when he was on loan from Everton, you wouldn’t have given him a big chance of playing in those games. He wasn’t particularly good but he has become particularly good, which is great.

We’ve a number of players who have a bit of experience and one or two who maybe haven’t had that much. So it’s an opportunity for someone to stake a claim in the manner that Duffy did. He grasped that opportunity against Italy and never looked back.

At the other end of the pitch, O’Neill accepts that the greatest challenge in the Irish football talent hunt remains trying to find a goalscorer to take up at least some of the burden which was shouldered for so long by one R Keane.

“Yeah, I would agree with you, to replace Robbie Keane and the phenomenal number of goals is tough to ask any of the three centre-forwards that we have at this moment. Shane Long has much more experience at international level than the other two and he’s participating at a higher level. But I don’t think that’s going to faze either (Scott) Hogan or young (Sean) Maguire.

Sean Maguire
Sean Maguire

"I think they feel up to it and feel, given an opportunity, they can turn any chances we make into goals. I think they are quietly confident about that but to ask them to end up with the career and the number of goals that Robbie Keane had — that’s tough going for anyone, never mind those young lads."

Kick off in Antalya is at 5.30pm.

- Digital Desk, with additional reporting from Liam Mackey, Irish Examiner

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