O’Neill can afford to experiment with Ireland in USA friendly


The last time the Republic of Ireland played the USA, they won 2-1. Coral offer tempting odds of 10/1 on a repeat scoreline at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for this end of calendar year friendly.

It’s 5/4 for the Republic to bounce back from defeat last time out by beating the Stars and Stripes, while the visitors are 9/4 outsiders in this match betting. Odds for a draw are 11/5.

While Irish management duo Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane will be disappointed to have lost to Celtic rivals Scotland in Euro 2016 qualifying action thanks to a set piece goal, this match is more about experimentation. Republic captain Robbie Keane has returned to club side LA Galaxy and Everton midfielder Darron Gibson was also released, so that signifies there shall be changes.

As Glenn Whelan recovers from a broken leg and with James McCarthy pulling out of the squad prior to the Scotland game, the engine room is under strength. O’Neill may want to promote Stephen Quinn into his XI here, or bring Hull City clubmate David Meyler back alongside Derby County’s Jeff Hendrick, while Pride Park teammate Cyrus Christie will earn his first cap in defence.

Robbie Brady caught the eye as a substitute against the Scots, so there should be a strong Tigers presence in the Ireland team. Back Brady at 7/2 for a goal here, as he could be included at left back ahead of Burnley reserve Stephen Ward or on the wing.

This is the perfect opportunity for O’Neill to give Ipswich Town strike pairing David McGoldrick and Daryl Murphy their first-ever international outing together. McGoldrick has only recently become eligible to play for the Republic, and a debut beckons here, so why not back him at 7/4 to cap his bow with a goal anytime.

It may surprise punters to learn that the USA’s main threat up front is Sunderland flop Jozy Altidore. He may be unable to score for toffees for his club, but has netted in both of his last two caps, and boasts an average of one for every three games played.

Back Altidore to grab the opener for a third successive international at 6/1, simply because he is a different animal in a Stars and Stripes shirt. Hamburg attacker Julian Green, on loan from Bayern Munich, is the great hope of Jurgen Klinsmann’s side, and is 7/2 to follow up his World Cup goal against Belgium by scoring here anytime.

As both managers may be shuffling their pack, it’s home advantage that should prove the difference. An Irish win with both teams scoring is a tempting shout at 24/5, as this takes that and the international form of Altidore into account.

Latest Articles