by Leighton Cullen
A week after Roy Hodgson was named as the new England manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named his squad for the finals in Poland and Ukraine. There were some shocks with James McClean being named in the 23 and some high profile English based players failing to make the cut.
Disappointingly the squad consists of the old guard and in tournaments like the Euros you need a split of old experienced players and some young new talent.
The players who have preformed well for Trap got into the squad and rightly so but even the players that have not Trap has remained loyal to and has called them up, namely Stephen Hunt, Sean St Ledger, Darren O Dea and Simon Cox. Trap as every Irish fan knows is not one for blooding new young talent. Additionally if you have a fallen out with him there is no way back. Ask Ciaran Clark and Marc Wilson who have missed out on both the squad and the stand by list. While when fit they have played regular football for their team. The madness of the Italian will never be understood by most fans.
We all know we wont be good enough to win the Euros and we’re essentially making up the numbers. We understand that. Sadly when we look at Irish players playing in the top league in England and doing well and being over looked for Championship and players out of form it’s hard to take. We look at the players this season such as the Norwich pair of Hoolahan and Pilkington and the consistently decent stuff they’ve produced for Norwich scoring goals and making an impact at the highest level and their omissions are crazy. Add into the mix Seamus Coleman who is on the stand by list when he should be in the squad. It must be a bitter pill to swallow for those players to miss out.
There is also the sad news that James McCarthy has pulled out of the Euros because his father is undergoing a cancer battle; its a shame that James cant go but every Irish fan understands why he cant make the trip and we all hope that his father wins his fight. James will hopefully get to play in a major tournament and showcase his skill in years to come.
While we head off to Poland with the boys in green with mixed emotions on the squad the fans will all party and have a good time no matter what happens. This squad will be happy with the underdog tag and will give it their all. It’s just a crying shame that what we have left behind could have helped us out. I hope I am wrong but I can’t see Ireland winning a game at the Euros with this squad. We might pick up a point against Croatia and Italy but the Spainsh will destroy us.
Even so, the build up has begun, now roll on Poland and the Euros…the Irish are on their way.
Republic of Ireland squad for Euro 2012: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall); John O’Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O’Dea (Leeds), Kevin Foley (Wolves); Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves), James McClean (Sunderland); Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long, Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).
Stand-by: Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Paul McShane (Crystal Palace), Paul Green (Unattached), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Andy Keogh (Millwall).