Date: 19th October 2008 at 7:15pm
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It is a funny old game, we wait for two seasons for a right-back and then when we get one, after only a few games, he gets dropped for a centre back! In fact yesterday against Portsmouth Martin O’Neill dropped two new buys in order to fit in, well, two new buys really!

Both Luke Young and Nicky Shorey were consigned to the bench with Carlos Cuellar being put to right-back – or as some suggested in a back three, although that isn’t how the game panned out I don’t think, and James Milner into midfield.

Martin O’Neill says neither player have anything to worry about though saying there really is ‘nothing fantastic to read into it.’

Slightly puzzlingly though, he says that he didn’t know how players would come back from international duty and yet the two left out hadn’t been on international duty. I’m slightly thick, so I’m obviously missing something?!

He told Sky Sports:

‘I was concerned, as a lot of managers, about how the players would be like when they came back from international duty. We only met up on Friday morning for a brief spell and, while all the players want to play, I didn’t know how long they might last in the game. For instance, John Carew was suffering with cramps a lot before the game, but he came through and started to get stronger.’

Adding, ‘One player I was concerned about, Stiliyan Petrov – who played two internationals for Bulgaria and was in Georgia on Wednesday – was the best player on the pitch. We’ve got players available for Thursday for the Uefa Cup (against Ajax) now and it is no slight on anyone. I have been pleased with both full-backs. They are trying to get to grips. They have had no chance whatsoever to settle in. But overall they will be fine, the two lads. There is not a problem.’

That makes no sense at all to me, I would have thought if you were worried about players returning then you would play the more rested players? Then again, it only has to make sense to one man, Martin O’Neill.