Celtic defender Shane Duffy dropped for Republic of Ireland v Serbia clash

By Euan Davidson

March 24, 2021

Celtic defender Shane Duffy has been sensationally dropped by Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny.

Ahead of the Boys in Green’s clash with Serbia, Kenny named a 3-5-2 [Independent.ie], which did not include the beleaguered Bhoys defender.

Duffy has been struggling for confidence for much of this season. While his Celtic stay started well, things quickly unravelled in Glasgow for the giant Brighton loanee. Tonight, he won’t be starting for the nation he captains. Rather, Seamus Coleman, Dara O’Shea and Ciaran Clark will be trusted to keep Serbia’s strikers from scoring in the World Cup qualifier.

As recently as today, quotes emerged from Duffy’s international colleague Seamus Coleman. The Everton dynamo, who spent time on loan at Celtic, said [BT]:

“Shane Duffy is a warrior, Shane Duffy is a leader, I think all us Irish people have seen that over the years with his performances.

“Listen, he’s not had the easiest time over in Scotland. I’ve watched the games that he’s played and I don’t think Shane Duffy is the reason why things aren’t going the way they wanted up there. There’s a lot of other reasons, I’m sure, for it.

“He doesn’t sulk, he’s a great character around the place, he’s a warrior and he had a tough time, and jumped on a plane to get back to work, maybe quicker than most people would. So I think Shane Duffy has done enough.”

Shane Duffy: some national glory would do wonders / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Another blow for struggling Celtic man Shane Duffy

Fortunately, Ireland have two more matches after Serbia during the international break. Luxembourg and Qatar follow on Saturday and Tuesday. It would be frankly incredible if Duffy didn’t feature from the start in either match.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for the Derry man. Duffy is achieving a family dream by pulling on the green and white. The fact it hasn’t gone according to the script is not his fault alone. We now know in hindsight that Duffy wasn’t the kind of centre-back we needed.

However, when news broke that Duffy was set to join the Bhoys, we were collectively ecstatic. Seen as the obvious choice to partner Ajer and Jullien in a back-3, Duffy started on fire.

Unfortunately, due to tactical changes, injuries around him and unfortunate on-field performances, it just hasn’t worked out. In a sense, it’s not entirely surprising to see him dropped by Stephen Kenny, on current form.

Duffy will be desperate to turn things around. A big game, against admittedly poor opposition in Qatar and Luxembourg, could be a big boost to his confidence. Even a cameo role with the possibility of a clean sheet tonight would be something. We’re all hoping Duffy can get back to his best – even if that opportunity hasn’t been grasped with Celtic.

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