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Diane Caldwell: Republic of Ireland success possible in spite of Vera Pauw

Republic of Ireland defender Diane Caldwell has sensationally slammed the management of Vera Pauw insisting that their historic run to a first-ever Women's World Cup was due to the players.

In a hard-hitting press conference ahead of the side’s Nations League clash with Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, the experienced FC Zurich player took aim at Pauw - who wasn’t offered a contract extension post World Cup - over a number of issues.

Eileen Gleeson has been appointed interim head coach and Caldwell believes there is plenty of room for improvement following Pauw’s exit.

In an interview with RTÉ after her exit, Pauw claimed some of her staff turned on her in the final weeks of her tenure. She also strongly criticised the FAI's process when conducting a review into the team's World Cup qualification campaign, and performance at the tournament itself.

The FAI responded to those claims, with chief executive Jonathan Hill saying that Pauw's exit was due to a "fundamental" difference in approach between her and the FAI.

Caldwell's comments will intensify the debate even further given how openly critical she was of her former manager on the same day that Katie McCabe had argued that player power had not played a part in Pauw's future.

"I think there were many areas that could have been better, yes, under her tenure," Caldwell replied when asked about the professionalism of the set-up under Pauw.

"I think our preparations for games could have been better, physical preparation, opponent analysis, match tactics, in-game match tactics, changes, systems of play.

"I think a group of players that were destined for success came together at the right time," she added.

Caldwell said that the players approached Pauw over a number