Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane started both games for the Republic of Ireland over the international period.

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has made it clear that Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane will never play at left-back again for his country. 

Hourihane was deployed at left-back during ROI’s 3-1 friendly win over Bulgaria on Tuesday night, as it is fair to say that the decision to play him in that role didn’t pay off.

Over the weekend, ROI picked up a valuable point during their Euro 2020 qualifier against Switzerland – McCarthy then rung the changes for last night’s friendly match.

Speaking to Virgin Media Sports, McCarthy stated that he only played Hourihane in defence because the Villa man wanted to get some minutes under his belt.

“It was never an experiment,” McCarthy told VMS. “He’s never, ever going to play there because I don’t think he can play there.

“He wanted minutes and he asked me beforehand ‘Gaffa, can I have some minutes?’. I said, ‘well not in midfield because there was always going to be the others [the fringe players], but if you fancy left-back?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I do’. He has got a wand of a left-foot. But he’s not a left-back.”

It is fair to say that Dean Smith won’t be trying Hourihane at fullback anytime soon, as the Villa player has seen his game time reduced at club level since the opening Premier League game of the season.

Therefore, it is understandable as to why he was so eager to get some minutes under his belt, regardless of where he was going to be played.

Villa were beaten 1-0 by Crystal Palace before the international break and Hourihane will be hoping he can return to the starting line-up as they take on West Ham on Monday night.

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