Ireland international Kevin Kilbane believes head coach Giovanni Trapattoni may start striker Jon Walters against Spain.
Kilbane, who has played 110 matches for Ireland but is not in the Euro 2012 squad, believes Stoke City striker Walters will play against the European and world champions on Thursday.
Trapattoni selected captain Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle as a forward partnership in Ireland’s 3-1 defeat to Croatia in their opening Group C game on Sunday.
“I think Robbie Keane may drop a little bit deeper to help the midfield to make it three in central midfield and nullify the effect that the Spanish will have,” Kilbane said.
“I get the feeling that Jon Walters may go in up front as the lone striker and that might be the only change he makes on the night from the game against Croatia.”
However, reports have speculated West Bromwich Albion’s Simon Cox may start in a five-man midfield with Keane possibly dropping to the bench.
Regardless of who starts in attack, Kilbane believes Ireland’s defence will be key against Spain.
“The Irish team need to … stay relaxed, stay disciplined, obviously defend for their lives because that is what it will be at times because of the possession they’ll have and hopefully for them they can get a goal on the break or maybe a goal from a set play,” he said.
“I think that’s the real way into this game and I’m just hopeful from the Irish point of view that they don’t go out and concede an early goal like they did against Croatia, because the game plan goes out the window then.”
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