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Eileen Gleeson: Players are entitled to their opinions

Republic of Ireland interim manager Eileen Gleeson has said players are "entitled to their opinions" after Diane Caldwell's explosive criticism of Vera Pauw.

Defender Caldwell did not hold back when assessing Pauw's time at the helm on Monday, saying "the results, performances that we got, were in spite of Vera being coach".

The 33-year-old also revealed herself and Katie McCabe aired some grievances around the manager's approach to the then FAI high performance director Ruud Dokter in the wake of the unsuccessful Euro 2022 qualifying campaign over two and half years ago.

Gleeson served as Pauw's No 2 for two years before leaving to become head coach at Glasgow City.

Last January she was appointed as the FAI's first ever Head of Women and Girls' Football, a role she remains fully committed to, ruling herself out of the running to replace Pauw long term after the 60-year-old departed at the end of last month.

She's taking the reins on a temporary basis while the association search for a suitable replacement, but Gleeson has walked into a storm as the full extent of player discontent under Pauw becomes evident.

Ahead of the Republic of Ireland's UEFA Nations League clash with Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, she found herself in firefighting mode.

"Players are going to express themselves all the time," the Dubliner said when asked about Caldwell's comments.

"We've all worked with players so we know players have opinions, and rightly so. It's their game, it's their performances, it's how they feel. They want to move forward.

"A player having an opinion is not a new thing. We're hearing plenty of opinions now, so a player having one is not at odds with human nature."

When pushed on Caldwell's assertion that the Girls