Ireland v Norway friendly

McCarthy certain to figure in future plans but Trap unlikely to change ‘the system’

By Daniel McDonnell

Thursday October 14 2010

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI will bring James McCarthy back into the Ireland squad for next month’s friendly with Norway, but the Irish manager has again asserted his belief that making wholesale changes is a dangerous course of action.

An uninspiring haul of one point from a possible six from the crunch Euro 2012 qualifiers with arch-rivals Russia and Slovakia has led to further questions about the depth of Trapattoni’s squad and his favoured style of play.

Ireland take on Norway in November and then Wales in the Carling Nations Cup in February before their next meaningful game, the visit of Macedonia to Dublin next March.

Trapattoni says he will look at newcomers in those games, but fell short of stating that he will change his system, instead looking at steady, gradual changes rather than a complete overhaul.

McCarthy, a ball-playing midfielder, won his first senior cap against Brazil in February but missed a chance to impress – and perhaps dirtied his bib when pulling out of May’s training camp due to fatigue on the advice of Wigan.

He is set to figure against Norway, while Stoke’s Jonathan Walters is expected to be called up. His club colleague Marc Wilson, who failed to make the bench in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Slovakia, is in line for an international debut as well.

“Obviously, we look for other players,” said Trapattoni yesterday morning, after just a few hours’ sleep following the team’s return from Zilina. "McCarthy, we look at him and not only him. Maybe one or two others.

“McCarthy plays for his club. On the bench we have players who are not playing for their clubs. It is also another chance for (Keith) Fahey.”

The problem for McCarthy, who turns 20 next month, is that it’s unclear where he would fit into Trapattoni’s system. He has experience of operating in a deep midfield role for his club but the Italian is unconvinced that he is mature enough to be deployed in a holding berth for his country.

While the Glaswegian can operate on the wing, Trapattoni seems to feel he would be better suited playing off a lone striker. That would mean a formation shift.

“I’m not afraid to change the system,” he declared. “It depends on the players with you. Now, we have McCarthy, and I think he could play behind the striker, like Stephen Ireland could. When I managed Inter Milan, we played this formation. You need time and you need players for this system.”

Robbie Keane’s future was extensively debated yesterday. However, Trapattoni, who admitted on Tuesday that his skipper’s lack of sharpness was a problem, has no intention of dropping a player with Keane’s know-how.

He compared him to a car with 200,000km on the clock, who may be short of his initial speed but has a lot to offer in other departments. “We need his experience,” stressed Trapattoni, pointing out that it was a rare off night for Keane in the context of his displays over the past two years, adding: “With more games, he can be better.”

Russia sit on top of Group B after wins in Dublin and Skopje, with a penalty miss from Macedonia in the latter encounter letting Dick Advocaat’s side off the hook. They are in a strong position now, and play four out of their remaining six games in Moscow.

Nevertheless, while acknowledging their quality, Trapattoni is not prepared to give up on the possibility of topping the group. He points out that Russia’s next game – in Armenia in March – is a potential banana skin.

“Armenia can also beat Russia,” he said. “When we went 1-0 up in Armenia, I hoped that the game finished quickly because they are very dangerous and fast, with a good mentality.”

The reality, however, is that unless Russia slip up in their two meetings with the Armenians, Ireland will need six points from the visit of Slovakia and the trip to Moscow next September if they are to maintain genuine ambitions of automatic qualification.

Once more, the play-off trail beckons.

  • Daniel McDonnell

Doesn’t the best runner up automatically qualify aswell? if we beat Macedonia(twice)Armenia,Slovakia(both at home) Andorra and get a point away to Russia,that would leave us with 23pts then we would surely get there if not top the group if Russia drop points to Armenia.Then again it’s Ireland and we never do things to plan!

Norway’s coach is the same one they had back in the 94 world cup. Same as us, he’s in his 70’s but they all love him up there and there is a real sense of ‘community’ for want of a better word in the Norwegian camp. It’ll be a good game.

No, I think only one best runner up qualifies automatically if even.
The next Euro Championships will be a bigger tournament and more teams will qualify but this is based on the usual 1 auto + half in the playoffs scenario.

Good news on McCarthy anyway. Hope we get a look at Stokes too. Reid won’t be figuring anyway so that’s been cleared up. I doubt Hoolahan will get into the reckoning but I’d like to see him get a chance.

9 group winners

1 best runner up

4 play off winners (4 matches made up of the remaining 8 runners up)

2 hosts

= 16

Ya so the best runner up throughout all the groups qualifies due to there been 9 groups,that should be our target if we win all remaining games and get a point off the Russians.

I can tell you now that won’t happen.

I particularly don’t fancy us at home. Look at the last campaign - drew with Bulgaria, lucky to beat Gerogia, lost to France.

We are much better away from home - the last two games have even shown that.

Reid is a non runner until he is back in the first team picture at Sunderland and fully fit, think he has only played 15 minutes this season…TBH, I don’t think we will see him in the squad any time soon…Although that article says Wilson didn’t make the bench tuesday night, I was full sure he did…thought the bench was Murphy, Keogh, McShane, Gibson, Foley, Cunnigham and Wilson…

Wouldn’t mind seeing Stokes in the squad ahead of the likes of Walters, given that he is a good bit younger and has a bit of scope for improvement…

Wilson was definitely on the bench.

I think the minor clamour for Walters to get in the squad is rather funny. He’s about tenth in the queue or should be anyway.

Brady pretty much said after the last game that Reid won’t get into Traps squad ever so hopefully that issue will be buried now like the Stevie Ireland one.

The problem with the likes of Kea e and Given not playing regularly at club level is they’ll need game time against Norway more than most. Long time to our next competitve game but it would be harsh on those lads to leave their club benches to sit on the Irish bench.

There’s no point playing a completely changed XI as it would defeat the entire purpose of having the friendly. We need to see how 2 or 3 of those on the fringes link up with the rest of the first team unit. You may as well have a “B” international otherwise. I think we’re suffering in midfield and would look to give Gibson or McCarthy a game. Probably no harm to try out one of the younger full backs too and maybe give Long another go or call up Stokes.

Ireland are playing Morocco not Norway on November 17th.


Christ, sid…

With Hunt and Duff back fot for the Norway game it will be interesting to see how Trap goes with his widemen…Especially as he says he wants to give Fahey more gametime

My team:


Coleman O’Shea St Legar Cunningham

Duff McCarthy Gibson Hunt

Keane Doyle

If by some reason Given and Keane are getting their game by next month I’d start them but have them changed after around an hour

Reasonable team Loke. I’m not sure I’d start the two lads at full back but both could figure. Not sure about midfield. Andrews probably needs gametime too so depends on where he’s at in his recovery. Again, you’d probably play him and then one of Gibson or McCarthy.

Presuming Keane needs games then you sort of have to go with that forward line too. Long could be rewarded with a run out too and I’d bring Stokes ahead of the other contenders but I imagine he’ll have to wait his time.

Was watching the Ireland v Germany game from 02 on ESPN Classic there yesterday and it was actually entertaining enough to watch. A really good performance by Ireland when ya look back. Played some nice football and were a a world away from anything we’ve produced recently, France game excluded. Was great to see the young Robbie Keane and Duff playing with the spark of youth. Keane was unrecognisable from what he’s become in recent years. A real cut about him. Fuck all moaning and flopping on the ground. Looked really agressive and actually wanted the ball.

Are we ever going to produce even players like that again? Current crop look really mediocre. They weren’t any world beaters but at least the likes of Keane, Duff, Given, Dunne, Finnan and even Quinn were top ranked players in the English game worth a fair bit of money and made Premiership teams of the year and the likes. Only fella who looks like becoming any type of a top player now is Coleman as far as I can see. Rest are all pure squad fillers in the Premiership at best. Would any of them even be worth near 10 million or ever likely to be? Looks like a really shit generation. Or am I being a bit pessimistic?

To put it in grossly generalised and over simplified terms, societal changes mean countries like Ireland do not produce many good footballers anymore. This bodes ill for the FS and Ireland international teams’ futures.

McGeady just went for guts of 10 million. Given is still an excellent keeper and Dunne is very good too when motivated though I fear he is going downhill. Doyle has performed really well for us too and is probably superior to Quinn in 2002. Of those yet to really figure I think Stokes could possibly become an excellent player if he gets his head right and McCarthy seems highly rated by some EPL observers. Not so sure myself but hope to fook he has developed since his SPL days as we could badly do with a central midfielder.

As regards Norway friendly I’d like to see Fahey tried centrally at some point (though not necessarily for the whole game). McCarthy should get some game time too and I would also like to see Long get another run up front.

McGeady and McCarthy probably the most potential alright but we didn’t ‘produce’ either of them.
There was genuine sense of excitement about Keane and Duff at that time and they were only 21/22. Would love to see a bit of a buzz around a young player again but doesn’t look likely to happen. Are there any great white hopes in the underage teams? Although I suppose being a star underage doesn’t count for a whole lot as Stokes was one of them.