We went to the pub early for the Euro 2012 game with Italy. It was empty. They’ll remain that way for our first World Cup qualifier with Kazakhstan. Giovanni Trapattoni’s insistence on sticking with the same players and tactics means an Irish game has scarcely been met with such indifference. And yet, history suggests Trap’s team will change.
He’s seen as stubborn, uncompromising and unable to adapt. In the aftermath of Euro 2012, Irish fans demanded new faces and a new style. To their dismay, Trapattoni would seem to have learned nothing from the summer’s exploits.
Much of the anger is directed at the decision to play Simon Cox on the wing instead of James McClean. The same tactic in Poland drew gasps of astonishment.
The opening World Cup qualifier is being met with a combination of disinterest and outright rage at the inability of the manager to change his ways.
And yet, it’s worth having a look at the teams that began and finished Trapattoni’s two previous campaigns.
Early squad regulars at the beginning of both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 adventures were nowhere to be seen by the time of their conclusion. Names like Steve Finnan, Steven Reid, Andy Reid, Liam Lawrence, Noel Hunt, Caleb Folan, Daryl Murphy, Cillian Sheridan, Leon Best, Kevin Kilbane were cut loose by Trapattoni during the course of those qualifying odysseys.
His inclusion of the likes of Coleman, McCarthy, McClean, Long, and Meyler now has failed to calm the baying masses, largely because he has retained others who failed to make the grade like Green and Keogh.
The frustrating atmosphere around the Irish soccer team is all the more palpable because, while Trap has these youngsters at his fingertips, he continues to ignore them in favour of players who failed so miserably in Poland.
And yet there’s every indication that some of the first eleven will fall by the way-side.
There is only so long Trap can ignore James McClean and Shane Long if they continue to impress in the Premier League.
For some followers of the team, the change may come too late.
Sept 6, 2008
Georgia vs Rep. Ireland
Republic of Ireland: Given, Finnan, O’Shea, Dunne, Kilbane, McGeady, S Reid, Whelan, Hunt, Keane, Doyle. Subs: Kiely, A Reid, Miller, McShane, Delaney, Keogh, Murphy.
Nov 18, 2009
France vs Rep. Ireland
Rep of Ireland: Given, O’Shea, St. Ledger, Dunne, Kilbane, Lawrence, Whelan, Andrews, Duff, Doyle, Keane.
Subs: Joe Murphy, McShane, McGeady, Gibson, Kelly, Hunt, Best.
Sept 3, 2010
Armenia vs Rep. Ireland
Rep of Ireland: Given, O’Shea, St. Ledger, Dunne, Kilbane, Lawrence, Whelan, Green, McGeady, Keane, Doyle.
Subs: Westwood, Fahey, Kelly, Gibson, Cunningham, Keogh, Sheridan.
Nov 11, 2011
Estonia vs Rep. Ireland
Republic of Ireland: Given, Kelly, St Ledger, Dunne, Ward, Duff, Whelan, Andrews, McGeady, Keane, Walters.
Subs: Westwood, Hunt, Keogh, Cox, Fahey, McShane, O’Dea.