Republic of Ireland: Matt Doherty happy to make full-back switch

Matt Doherty and Seamus Coleman
Wolves' Matt Doherty and Everton captain Seamus Coleman have been in competition for the right-back slot with the Republic of Ireland

Matt Doherty feels he can help solve the Republic of Ireland's defensive crisis if called upon by Mick McCarthy.

Enda Stevens is suspended for Saturday's Euro 2020 qualifier away to Georgia in Tbilisi and Richard Keogh is injured.

Right-back Doherty is a candidate to replace Stevens at left-back, having previous experience of playing there with Premier League side Wolves.

"We're professional and I'll be able to adapt," said Doherty.

Doherty, who has found himself in competition with Republic captain Seamus Coleman for a starting spot at right-back, says he's "totally comfortable" playing at left-back if manager McCarthy decides he is the man to come in for Stevens.

Matt Doherty
Matt Doherty made his Republic of Ireland debut against Turkey in March 2018 and has won seven caps

"I played two seasons there for Wolves - one and a half seasons, maybe, it was - so it would be nothing new to me," said the 27-year-old.

"If that is the case, then yes, I'll enjoy it and grab the opportunity with both hands.

"I know some people might think 'it's just right-back, left-back, just go over the other side' but positionally and things like that, there are differences.

"But I'm not concerned by that. I know that I'll be able to adapt to it and if that's the case, then it shouldn't really be a problem.

"I should be able to play just almost as well as I can on the other side."

Versatility asset not a curse

The Republic top Group D after five games and face back-to-back qualifiers against Georgia on Saturday and Switzerland in Geneva on Tuesday before concluding the campaign against Denmark in Dublin next month.

Doherty has had to remain patient on the international front since making his debut as a substitute in a 1-0 friendly defeat in Turkey in March 2018, adding only six more caps.

His versatility meant he was asked to play in a midfield role ahead of Coleman in Gibraltar in Ireland's opening Euro 2020 qualifier, in which McCarthy's side laboured to a 1-0 win.

However, he sees his versatility as an asset rather than a curse.

"It just means if I can't get into the team in one position, I might be able to get in at another," added Doherty.

"You're still in the team and that would be the most important thing. As long as you're in the team, you're happy."