The last point is the key and the lack of quality in the second string is frightening. We are relying on championship players now and it will only get worse but this isnt just our problem England are fairly fecked now as well hence the rather bizarre tug of war over Grealish who turned out to be pretty sh1te.
Charlton inherited the best group of players we ever had, they just needed a stronger manager than Hand who was totally out of his depth as a coach, even admitted it himself. Then Charlton added two key players in Aldridge and Houghton.
Without trying to be revisionist, when you look at the team Jack had, with McGrath, Whelan, Lawrenson, Brady, O'Leary, Irwin, Staunton, Houghton, Aldridge, Sheedy etc, they could have approached the games an awful lot differently, and probably still had very good success.
In 1988 Liverpool won the league, Man U were second and Celtic won their league. 8 out of 11 of the starting lineup played for those three clubs.
Another factor with our players is them (bloody) "foreign" players taking our places in the top teams, since satellite tv money poured in.
I'd say it's a factor but it's not the full explanation for Ireland's issues, not by far.
Ireland were made to look grossly incompetent by a sparsely populated island nation who also gave them an abject lesson on how to play the game according to your strengths.
None of those Iceland players are playing at a high level, that was mainly their 2nd team, yet they were more comfortable on the ball, their midfield got on the ball and brought it forward or passed it onto their front men. The 2 forwards worked really hard, could hold onto the ball and pass it on to incoming midfield support. Their full backs were quick up to support the attack and then defend. They played the game with a solid strong team ethic.
Ireland were a team without a design, a haphazard collection of players.