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How Wales should line-up against Republic of Ireland

Thursday 23rd March 2017
It's a crunch match. From a Wales perspective, many fear it will be a case of "do or die". A win would set the Welsh back on track, whilst a draw would continue their stuttering form, and a loss would be disastrous.

Chris Coleman will need to get his team selection spot-on if he is to come back with a much-needed win. Here's this writer's verdict on who should make the cut.

Wayne Hennessy

One of the first names on the team-sheet. A constant between the Welsh posts; a reliable shot-stopper and commanding presence forming the backbone in what has been a disciplined Welsh defence.

Chris Gunter - RWB

Gunter will be the third most capped Welsh player, aged at just 27. His service to Wales has been immense and the commitment and desire he shows for the shirt warrants his new-found prestige among the Welsh supporters.

James Chester - RCB

Calm and composed, Chester optimises the Welsh back-line. Defensively assured with an ability to pick out a teammate, Chester complements Coleman's footballing philosophy.

Ashley Williams - CB

The commander. William's leadership is a vital part of Wales' recent success. Like Chester, he is a ball-playing centre-back but is prone to making little mistakes in clearing his lines.

Ben Davies - LCB

Danny Rose's absence has paved the way for Davies to make his mark at Tottenham. Finally, he is being allowed the chance to show his quality and is changing opinion throughout White Hart Lane. Davies always needed game-time, and now he is getting it, he is demonstrating his class. An unsung hero of Wales' EURO 2016 campaign, Davies is crucial to Wales.

Neil Taylor - LB

Bizarrely ostracised by Swansea's previous managers, Tayor has found a new home at Villa Park. Taylor and Davies have looked vulnerable during this World Cup campaign, but having now both reached match-fitness the pair will once more cut assured figures.

Joe Allen - CM

Allen's vision, craft, guile, and calm presence mean he is simply undroppable. A key cog in Wales' offensive play, Allen could well be the difference in Dublin: he'll be given licence to dictate and determine the tempo of the game.

Joe Ledley - CM

Ledley has found game-time hard to come by under Crystal Palace boss Sam Allardyce, but his combative play and disciplined positioning provide the perfect balance for Allen's creative spark.

Aaron Ramsey - LAM

Maligned at Arsenal, but worshipped in Wales, the Ramsey enigma continues. Ramsey's attacking tendencies are embraced and allowed to flourish at Wales, whereas they are restricted and oppressed at Arsenal. Ramsey is a match-winner: Wales fans saw that in Toulouse when he put on a scintillating display and led Wales to a 3-0 win over Russia, placing them top of their group.

Gareth Bale - RAM

This selection does not need any justification. Simply unplayable at times with the ability to win matches with his wand of a left-foot. Bale will be on the prowl in Ireland.

Hal Robson-Kanu - ST

This is the toughest choice and will be for Coleman. It was made a little bit easier with Tom Lawrence's recent withdrawal - who had been in unstoppable form. Sam Vokes has just a valid claim to this starting spot, but away from home Robson-Kanu's tireless work effort and astonishing desire to keep on running will be vital.
Michael Jones

Football & political writer with a predictable love of everything retro. English Literature undergraduate at the University of Exeter, looking to pursue a career in sports journalism. For a collection of my work, visit. http://mikejonesmedia.wordpress.com

Follow me on twitter: @jonesmichael_97

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