Wednesday 17 January 2018

Dunne: It's too late to change

Developing new Irish style would mean sacrificing results for six years

Roy Keane instructs Jeff Hendrick in Belgrade. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Roy Keane instructs Jeff Hendrick in Belgrade. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Former Republic of Ireland player Richard Dunne was on hand to launch #PowerOfGreen campaign on behalf of SSE Airtricity, Ireland’s largest provider of 100% green energy. To celebrate the #PowerOfGreen all customers who switch to SSE Airtricity will receive €120 credit, as well as 10% off their home energy. For more information on how to switch, please visit www.sseairtricity.com. Pic: Inpho

It's a terrible pity Richard Dunne is so happy in his new life in Monaco. Well, a pity for Irish football and the general public sense of well-being.

These days, he can view the world from a place with a nice view and exceptionally wealthy neighbours and play five-a-side with a few lads he's met since he moved in.

No fuss. The quiet life.

He can view things through a filter which cuts out the commentary and heat from the debate about Ireland, the way the team plays and whether it will ever change.

Just as Dunne provided a rock of stability at the heart of Ireland's defence for so long, his words carry the same weight and resonate in an era of fast quotes and spoofing.

Belgrade and Ireland's 2-2 draw with Serbia was the first port of call in a wide-ranging interview which underlined the notion that Dunne would have a lot to give if he ever decides to dive back into the world of football.

"It was just..I don't know..typical of Ireland, exactly the sort of performance we've been putting in for years.

"You look back for a long time, there's no match you watch where you think 'yeah, we played great'.

"Listening to the manager afterwards he was saying it's all about the result and that's normal, just getting points.

"Whatever players are produced, whoever plays in the team, it always ends up being the same sort of tactics and I think when I played Aston Villa with Martin O'Neill, it was a similar sort of thing where we would soak up pressure and then we would have fast lads up front.

"The Irish team is similar, soaking up the pressure and going long and hoping that Jon Walters and James McClean can get after it, or Shane's flick-ons or Daryl's flick-ons or whatever. It's a tactic that has worked and he's not going to change it.

"At the Euros at times there was a bit of football played but it wasn't a whole new concept of football or anything. Just different little spells in games, I wouldn't say it was outstanding at any time but it was just effective.

"There's no point worrying about it or criticising it but it's not Barcelona or what Man City are now, or even England are trying to do it but England are hopeless as well at the moment because they've gone too much the other way where they just pass it for passing's sake at times.

"Ireland's always been about fight- tackle-get the ball in the box and see what you can do. It's going to take a long time for it to change because the level of players.

"When Roy Keane was playing we might have played a bit of football because he was the one Irish midfielder for a long time who could dictate matches and control the tempo.

"We don't have that any more, we've not had it for a long time and whether it comes again in the future," he said, his voice trailing off.

"The standard of the players, the faces and the names change but the levels have never really been up or down too much, apart from when Roy was there and Roy was one of the best midfielders in the world.

"Since then there has been midfielders of a similar sort of style and they are all effective and all play football at their clubs.

"I don't know why it is, it is just different when you play for Ireland. What it is I don't know, I can't explain because when I played we never went out training and they just said lash it, just clear it and don't pass to your midfielders.

"But when the game comes around you follow the game. I don't know whether it is the way Irish kids play football or that we were brought up on just trying to score a goal; get the ball as far away from your goal then go from there.

"I don't think you can blame the quality of the players because they are just doing what comes natural I suppose.

"I think to get the passing and movement together when you have two matches and two different styles of teams you are playing against it is difficult to work on anything other than your basic defending, corners, tactics and stuff like that. If the manager has a plan and that's the way he wants to play then over the course of two or three or four years that's the way he can influence it.


"For three or four years the players have to be be playing the same sort of way, We will qualify for Qatar but everything up until then has to be sacrificed.

"In the meantime we won't be doing anything, we will just be playing lovely football and in the meantime the crowds may not stay the same because while everyone loves nice football, they also love seeing goals

"We can't change it. You can change it for one game if you are up against a team who you know you are going to beat."

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