Shane Duffy has shown enough with Ireland to suggest that he will eat up headers all day long if a team pumps long ball after long ball into the box, but he’s been exposed too many times since moving to Celtic.
He’s poor on the ball and worryingly slow to turn so the opposing strikers will come into a game knowing they are going to get chances, while he’s making regular mistakes too.
Only he will know if it’s an issue with confidence, his technique and ability or it could even be that he came to the club expecting an easy ride, but he’s reached a point where he needs to improve or he won’t play a lot for the rest of the season.
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Former Celtic manager Martin O’Neill has experience of Duffy during his time with Ireland, so it was interesting to see his views during the coverage for the Cup Final on The BBC.
He was asked if Duffy expected things to be easier when moving to Scotland:
“Oh I think so, not that he expected it to be easy up here, but I think he thought it might be easier.”
He then went on to offer some advice to Duffy which could help him to improve on his performances:
“Play to his strengths, don’t try to go for the great diagonal ball which travels 60-70 yards, by the time the ball travels that distance it goes from being 80/20 in the winger’s favour to a 50/50 ball.”
The example on the punditry showed a mistake against Aberdeen where he got caught trying to overplay and it directly led to a goal, so O’Neill suggested he just needs to put the ball in the stands and regroup.
It makes sense and it could be the case that he’s simply trying to become a ball playing defender when it doesn’t suit his ability at all, so he should be looking to leave that to Ajer and focus on defending.
He might struggle to completely turn it round and become an irreplaceable member of the team, but he’s certainly capable of leaving in the summer having left a better impression of what he’s capable of.