Shane Long should start for Republic of Ireland against Denmark, says Shay Given
Last Updated: 14/11/17 6:49pm
Shay Given thinks the Republic of Ireland should start Shane Long up front in Tuesday's crucial World Cup play-off against Denmark, live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm.
Long came off the bench in Saturday's goalless draw in Copenhagen and although the Southampton striker has failed to find the net since February, Given believes his pace will cause problems for the Danish defence.
"Daryl Murphy has done well in the last few games but Long has the pace to stretch Denmark and get us further up the pitch," Given told Sky Sports News.
"We didn't keep the ball well enough in the first leg, Martin [O'Neill] said as much. We need to be a bit braver on the ball and keep it better when we do win it back.
"It's going to be a tense, nervous night. There is so much at stake and it all comes down to 90 minutes, or maybe longer with extra-time and penalties."
Given, who started every game in goal when Ireland last qualified for the World Cup in 2002, has been impressed by current goalkeeper Darren Randolph and his back four, who are seeking a fourth successive clean sheet.
"Darren has been fantastic since taking the No 1 jersey," said Given, who won 134 caps for his country. "Even in the first leg he didn't have loads to do but he still made a big double save in the first half.
"He brings a real calmness to the back four and to the team."
However, Given says Ireland must show more ambition in attack if they are to seize "the chance of a lifetime" and reach Russia 2018.
"They need to be a bit more expansive going forward but I don't think they're going to be gung-ho from the start.
"It'll be a nervy night in Dublin but I wish the lads well and hope they can get the job done."