The FAI International awards take place this weekend.What will it say about Giovanni Trapattoni if Seamus Coleman wins Young Player of the Year? A footballer the Italian wouldn’t have on the bench as he was putting Gareth Bale and a string of Premier League full-backs in his pocket, could be looking at the trophy on his Donegal mantelpiece while Ireland are in action in Poland.
The consensus is that the former Sligo Rovers player could be the one to miss out when Trapattoni names his final 23 for the European Championships.
Seamus Coleman burst on the scene at Goodison after crossing the Irish sea from the Bit O’Red for what now looks like a paltry £150,000. Named man-of-the-match in his home debut against Spurs, Seamus went on to enjoy a hugely successful loan period at Blackpool helping the Tangerines to promotion to the Premier League and earning a rousing reception when he faced them in an Everton shirt in a later FA Cup tie.
Colemans’s return to the Toffess saw him break into the first team, enjoying a superb season which culminated in his nomination for the PFA Young Player of the Year, the equivalent of which, he won at Everton.
And all this time Giovanni Trapattoni was oblivious to the calls for his international promotion.
It makes the recent call -up of James McClean all the more surprising when we consider how long it took the Italian to cap the young Donegalman.
The occasion of his first squad selection left a bitter taste all round. A meaningless friendly at home to Norway only sparked the interest of the half-full Aviva by the prospect of seeing the man, at the time widely being compared to Gareth Bale, in action.
Coleman’s family were in the stands that day but the 23-year-old stayed on the bench as Ireland slumped to a defeat.
It was shabby treatment by Trapattoni, the kind of behaviour that caused Stephen Ireland to withdraw from selection when Brian Kerr was in the Irish hot-seat for a similar situation when the pair linked up at under-age level.
Spud Watch summed up the feeling of many:
“Even for the sake of the fans and indeed young Coleman, Trap should have given the man 10 or even five minutes. Next time round he could be injured or, worse still, McShane could be fit. This was utterly pig-headedness from Trapattoni who needs to take a serious rain-check. I put up with the Paul Greens of this world. I put up with the Sean St. Ledgers of this world and I still pay the asking price for the tickets, but when, for no good reason, the most talented man in the stadium (after me) was left sitting on his seat pissed off and sad, then I think it reflects poorly on the manager whom, for all his seemingly good Catholic ways, is acting like nothing more than a mean old Protestant Landlord. A bad night for Irish football.”
Coleman eventually got his chance in an Irish shirt during the Carling Nations Cup and he put in some impressively confident displays. He made his debut in a 3-0 win over Wales and went on to feature in the excellent Irish outing against Uruguay and the win against Italy in Belgium (a result that could yet prove highly significant), in two teams deemed to be second-string outfits.
On the back of his five caps, Coleman has been nominated for the best young Irish international of the past 12 months. If he wins it, we’ll have the potential scenario of the Irish national manager leaving his Young Player of the Year watching the European Championships from his living room.
Can someone tell me, where’s the ‘mentality’ behind that?
‘3’FAI International Football Awards Nominees
Senior International Player of the Year
Keith Andrews – West Bromich Albion
Richard Dunne – Aston Villa
Robbie Keane – Aston Villa
Young International Player of the Year
Seamus Coleman – Everton
Simon Cox – West Bromich Albion
Darren O’Dea – Leeds United
Three International Goal of the Year
Robbie Keane (v Scotland, 29th May 2011)
Darron Gibson (v Wales, 8th February 2011)
Keith Andrews (v Estonia, 11th November 2011)
Airtricity League Player of the Year
Pat Sullivan – Currently without a club
Eamon Zayed – Persepolis
James McClean – Sunderland AFC
Under 21 International Player of the Year
Robbie Brady – Manchester United (on loan to Hull City)
Rob Kiernan – Wigan Athletic
Aidan White – Leeds United
Senior Women’s International Player of the Year
Emma Byrne – Arsenal
Niamh Fahey – Arsenal
Denise O’Sullivan – Cork Women’s FC