State of Play: Slovakia 1 Ireland 1

Póg Mo Goal’s no-holds-barred player ratings.

I WATCHED tonight’s game with my Slovakian neighbour, Petr (who has a penchant for shouting at the wrong time and drinking foul smelling Lidl beer/toilet cleaner) and the general consensus was that this was two points lost for Ireland.

Shay Given – dodgy with the ball at his feet, probably from lack of games. At least he wasn’t employed as playmaker like Friday night.

Richard Dunne – Won everything he went for and tried in vain to command the defence. The criticism was levelled at him for not instructing his players at set pieces of who they should be picking up – but Glenn Whelan, St Ledger and Kilbane do not have the ability to listen. This is not Dunne’s fault – these players are simply unteachable – it’s like trying to teach Corky honours maths.

St Ledger – took his goal very well. He does ok in these kind of games where no technical nouse is required. This man will never play in the Premiership because of a lack of technical intuition.

John O’Shea – another impressive performance yet again. Linked well with Fahey. Great off the ball and clever with it. A shame that Trap sees the need to accommodate limited players when O’Shea should really be centre-half.

Kevin Kilbane – Did OK –  but, again, Slovakia were bad. Petr reckoned he could give Kilbane a roasting or a “bad time”. Petr may be right.

Paul Green – He looks and sounds like a generic bad player in PES Masterleague – i.e. has low attributes for everything accept slide tackle. Every ball he receives he invariably slides at it. A blessing in disguise when he went off injured. Awful.

Glenn Whelan – himself and Paul Green contributed 0 once again. He was on the pitch to offer shield and because he has an OK shot. He never showed this. He returns to the Stoke bench now to continue reading “Crime and Punishment”.

Keith Fahey – used the ball excellently. A rarity in an Irish central player in that he actually looks like a midfielder. Uses his body well. Passes well. Endeavours to play football as often as possible. Hopefully he continues to get some games for Birmingham as he a very adequate footballer.

Aiden McGeady – another decent game. When given the right ball and used properly he always looks a threat. I’m convinced he is improving for the first time in his career but his end ball can still be quite shoddy. Himself, Fahey, and Long are the only latent positives from these two games.

Shane Long – A very likable lad and, like Doyle, the man gives everything and is not afraid to get hurt in the process. Looked like a Premier League player and with these two games and a friendly to come he is seizing the moment and trying to show the wider audience that he is very capable. He was assaulted at least three or four times in this game and simply got up and got on with it, which brings me on to our other striker….

Robbie Keane – I’m Robbie’s harshest critic but I do feel for the man. He is still a very very fine player. But tonight he looked lethargic and dejected, like a man strung out having missed his methadone injections this morning at St. James’ hospital. Robbie Keane circa 2008 would have scored a hatrick tonight. Where does he go from here? Well St. Vincent’s hospital also offer methadone with the medical card or saving that he could head for Wolves or Villa in January.

Darren Gibson – was on the pitch to get shots in. The Slovakians knew who he was and feared him because he is a Manchester United player – Petr almost choked on moderately priced Lidl piss when he saw Gibson in range in the second half. Frequently drifted into the classic Matt Holland role i.e. unavailable to receive the ball in positions where he could be exposed. Lacks courage and maybe his critics are right?

Overall – Let’s be honest – we are a very ordinary team right now. Duff will be fit again. And injured and fit again. Last season Hodgson knew how to get the most out of Duffer without pushing him. Hughes thus far has seen Duff retreat back to his Newcastle form, fitness-wise.

Seamus Coleman must step in moving O’Shea into centre-half or more importantly, displacing Kilbane. James McCarthy must also come in pushing Paul Green on to the proverbial dole queue of international footballers.

People say that this is a barren generation of quality footballers. But if you look at it, this generation includes Andy Reid and Stephen Ireland. Petr reckons Stephen Ireland is a “nasty man” and probably likes substandard stadium rock bands like “Scorpion” and not good ones like”Whitesnake”. I like Petr, I just wish he would leave my flat now and stop eating my butter.

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