Preview: Our Pride’s Away With the Faroes

You can leave the outcry for others. For now, Trapattoni is going nowhere and the silence from John Delaney has been deafening. No one can contemplate another disaster against the Faroes Islands, but it seems many no longer care. The question you might ask is, do our players?

Has Trapattoni finally seen sense? Has it come too late? Coleman and Wilson will line out in the full-back positions against the Faroes. Robbie Brady comes in in place of Cox and captain Robbie Keane returns to partner Jon Walters.

Lansdowne Road was the scene of a footballing massacre last Friday. We now seem leaderless both on the pitch and the sidelines. In its previous setting, a famous Irish rugby captain once asked his team-mates in the same stadium “Where’s your pride?” Our soccer manager should ask his charges the same thing.

Reports of a training ground bust-up with Stephen Kelly have done nothing to assuage the crisis developing the Republic squad, and Torhshavn seems a bleak location for redemption.

One of the very few bright spots from Friday night was Seamus Coleman’s performance. Making his competitive début in such a high-profile game, we can only hope the young Donegalman is not affected psychologically from the hammering dished out by the Germans.

Coleman was tenacious in the tackle, pacey going forward, but more than that, he was composed on the ball, especially under pressure in the back-line. He was prepared to turn his opponent and look for an outlet rather than simply hoof the ball long.

It would be harsh in the extreme to say Coleman could have done more for the opening goal. He was off balance and if anything almost stretched to get a clearing boot to the ball. Coleman was completely isolated by the shameful performance of Aiden McGeady. How many more chances will McGeady get? Forget about his attacking attributes – though they are in question – McGeady has never shown an appetite to track back. Operating on the left flank in Poland, Stephen Ward was hopelessly exposed by McGeady in front of him. On the opposite wing on Friday night, the Spartak Moscow man offered zero assistance to Coleman.

Against world-class sides like Germany, Ireland were always going to surrender possession and chances. We cannot afford to have even one player not pulling his weight in his defensive duties. McGeady will be useful on Tuesday against the limited Faroes but his time may be done for Ireland. There are other options. Coleman can switch to the wing with James McClean nailing a starting place. Stephen Hunt should be recalled. He can always be relied upon for effort.

Darren O’Dea is coming in for a lot of criticism. To be fair, O’Dea has done very well for Ireland in his previous appearances but he couldn’t find a club in England and he plies his trade in the MLS. Just a week ago, an ageing Thierry Henry took O’Dea apart and he was ripped to shreds in a similar fashion on Friday.

Jonathan Walters is the only other Irish player to come out with any credit. Sadly, James McCarthy and Keith Fahey have inherited the midfield trait of disappearing. Walters justified his selection and for the opening quarter of the game, he was troubling the German defence.

The argument of many that Shane Long should have been playing off him is completely unacceptable. We can’t call for a change of formation and then lament the fact we’re not playing 4-4-2. We can’t have it both ways.

Walters was correct this week. Every player in the Irish squad is playing for his place. The manager is staring into the abyss because the players he puts such loyalty in have utterly failed him. In five games, we’re conceded 16 goals. 16!!

Ray Houghton was on commentary duty for Sky last week and he talked up the importance of the Faroe Islands game after the German horror-show. The suggestion that we will struggle against the minnows proves how far we’ve fallen.

Brian Kerr’s former side almost pulled off a shock against Sweden taking the lead with 25 minutes remaining. Eventually the Swedes turned it around thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic but we could be in for a tricky evening. You’d have to wonder, how will the Irish players react?

Robbie Keane comes back into the side. He is our record goal-scorer and has got us over the line in difficult games like this before. Robbie is bearing the brunt of some over-the-top criticism lately. No one can question his commitment and we may need him to fulfill his captain’s role by giving a tongue-lashing.

Trapattoni must spit fire on Tuesday and it looks like he has. Ward, Cox, and Fahey have been cut. Coleman, Wilson, and Brady all come in. Trap has shown too much loyalty in the past and that has not been repaid. He was once one of the most respected coaches in the world and now his reputation is in tatters. They say pride comes before a fall. Even if he is to fall, Trap has to restore pride first.

Republic of Ireland vs Faroes Islands:
Westwood, Coleman, O’Shea, O’Dea, Wilson, Brady, Andrews, McCarthy, McGeady, Keane, Walters


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