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Matt Doherty - It was tough, but I enjoyed it, I mean I got my first start

Sun, Oct 14 2018

Matt Doherty Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

Diarmuid Kearney reports from the Aviva Stadium

The talk of the town before Saturday night’s game at the Aviva was the call for the inclusion of Matt Doherty in the Ireland starting XI after his impressive recent Premier League preformances for Wolves. 

The 26 year old former Bohemians man was named by Martin O’Neill as a wingback in a new style formation in the UEFA Nations League 0-0 draw with Denmark. Doherty knew the responsibility handed to him by Martin O’Neill. 

“To be a wingback, initially just sit in and see how the game goes and try and play my own game,” was the task that Doherty set for himself in what was at least a familiar position to him.

“I play there at club level and I’m in pretty good form at club level, so I expected to play on the right. It was tough, but I enjoyed it, I mean I got my first start.

Ahead of the game, the clammer was for Doherty to come into the team in place of Cyrus Christie. However rather than have to make a choice between the pair, Martin O’Neill deployed Christie in central midfield and Doherty at wing back.

“I’ve actually not seen that much to be honest,” said Doherty about his selection talk. “My parents might send me the odd article or something like that, but that’s pretty much all I’ve seen.”

At times during the match Ireland very much sat back and let Denmark have much of the ball. Speaking about the slow pace of the game, Doherty felt that it was a change from the Premier League. 

“It didn’t feel like that, I mean I’m tired now. It might have looked that way but on the pitch you have got to concentrate all the time. It just felt different to club football, dunno what but It was definitely different.”

Doherty recently won the PFA Fans Player of the Month award for September and was taken back by the level of support he received and is proud of the achievement.

“Yeah I mean the fans thought that I played pretty well. My sisters probably had the majority of the votes for me! I have quite a big family but I mean I will take it all day long to get that type of recognition is something to be proud of”.