Posts Tagged ‘ Keith Andrews ’

Injured Dunne On Standby As Trap Reveals Squad

Dunne: Race Against Time

Giovanni Trapattoni has revealed his squad for Ireland’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Faroe Islands.

The biggest talking point emanating from Trap’s decision is the fact that Richard Dunne has been named on standby as the influential Aston Villa defender is still struggling to overcome a groin injury.

The Italian is sweating on Dunne’s fitness ahead of the crunch visit of Germany to the Aviva but it looks unlikely that he will play any part in the October 12 showdown.

Many will be surprised by the omission of Robbie Brady, who tore Oman to shreds on his international debut. The Manchester United star has also been placed on standby, a decision which will shock many who felt he was a dead cert to make the final 23.

Elsewhere there’s a welcome return to the Ireland set up for Keith Andrews, who hasn’t featured since his dismissal at Euro 2012. Andrews was Ireland’s best player at Euro 2012 but whether he can regain his place from James McCarthy remains to be seen. Trap may even plump for Andrews alongside McCarthy with Glen Whelan missing out.

Whether or not James McClean will feature following his Twitter antics remains a hot topic of debate.

Keith Fahey returns to the squad after his Euro 2012 heartbreak while Seamus Coleman, Marc Wilson and Andy Keogh retain their positions.

Darren Gibson’s self imposed exile continues. Despite a slight knock the Everton midfielder has yet to contact Trap since making his decision prior to the Kazakhstan game.

Fans will be again discerned at the Italian’s stubbornness towards selecting Ciaran Clark, Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington.

Ireland will be needing a much improved performance from that faithful night in Astana if they are to have any hope of getting a positive result against a tough German side, who also have a point to prove having stumbled to a win over Austria.

The Italian has confessed he was too critical of his players after Kevin Doyle saved his bacon in our opening qualifier. How can one be over critical of a team that didn’t deserve anything and almost lost to a team ranked 142nd in the world?

Prior to the Kazakh game hope sprang eternal. The World Cup qualifying campaign was to be a new experience, something where both hope and expectations would be minimal given our disastrous Euro 2012 performance. Such an atmosphere was to enable the Boys In Green to go into battle and lift Irish spirits.

Sadly it did nothing but lower Irish spirits to a dark and dreary place, a place not seen since the erroneous reign of Steve Staunton.

After scraping past the Kazakhs it appears the only way is up but if Irish football has ever thought you anything it is to expect the unexpected. We may well soon be talking about a historic Irish victory or on the other hand we could be talking about a cataclysmic hammering at the hands of Schweinstieger and co.

Ireland squad v Germany and the Faroe Islands: Westwood, Forde, Randolph, Wilson, O’Shea, St Ledger, O’Dea, Ward, Kelly, McShane, Whelan, McCarthy, Andrews, Fahey, Coleman, McGeady, Keogh, McClean, Keane, Doyle, Long, Cox, Walters.

On standby: Dunne, Brady.

 

Boys In Green Look To Set Premier League Alight

The Premier League kicks off next weekend and Irish fans will have a keen eye on proceedings as the World Cup qualifiers loom. Following a poor Euro 2012 campaign, Irish fans will be eager to see the Boys In Green performing well for their clubs before Kazakhstan and Germany come calling.

Something that has become a recent trend is the number of Irish stars who are dropping down a level and this trend has certainly been prevalent this summer. Both Keith Andrews and Simon Cox have swapped West Brom for The Championship while Darren O’Dea scored a surprising move to Major League Soccer side Toronto FC. Of course with Wolves been relegated that further reduces the number of Irish players plying their trade in the top flight. Kevin Doyle, Stephen Ward, Stephen Hunt and Kevin Foley all look set to remain at Molineux and help the club bounce back to the Premier League at the first attempt. Sean St Ledger, Keith Fahey, David Forde and Paddy Kenny will also be prominent features in the Championship this term while the likes of Robbie Keane and Aiden McGeady are still plying their trade outside the British Isles.

But what about those Irish players remaining in the Premier League?

Everton will be hoping to qualify for Europe this term and will be buoyed by the fact that they have retained the services of long serving manager David Moyes, who spurned the advances of Spurs after Harry Redknapp was dismissed from White Hart Lane. Moyes has added smartly to his squad given his limited resources with both Stephen Pienaar and Steven Naismith joining The Toffees. Much is expected of the free scoring Nikica Jelavic but this hardworking Everton outfit will be largely reliant on the skill and tenacity of Seamus Coleman combined with the graft and experience of Darren Gibson, who seems rejuvenated having left Manchester United last January. Shane Duffy will be hoping to establish himself in The Toffees defence following some superb displays last term.

Robbie Brady will be hoping to break into the senior international set up quite soon. The Manchester United player has enjoyed a solid pre season and Alex Ferguson sees him as an adequate competitor for Patrice Evra’s full back position. With Evra ageing, Brady’s time looks set to be on the horizon although few would have expected the winger to convert to a full back following his tremendous displays on loan at Hull City last season

James McClean will be hoping to maintain his sensational start to life in the Premier League with Sunderland. Martin O’Neill will have his first full season at the Stadium of Light and despite the lack of transfer activity on Wearside you can expect Sunderland to push for a top ten finish while enjoying a solid cup run. John O’Shea will continue to hold up the rearguard while Keiren Westwood looks resigned to a number two role yet again. David Meyler will be hoping to have an injury free season and catch the eye of Giovanni Trapattoni in the process.

Hope springs eternal at Villa Park as the new season ushers in the era of Paul Lambert as Aston Villa boss. The club have overhauled their managerial structure and have rid of some players who simply weren’t up to scratch. There is still a strong Irish contingent at Villa Park though and it remains to be seen whether Shay Given and Richard Dunne will pack in international football in order to further their club careers. Ciaran Clark will be hoping for another solid season while under 21 star Samir Carruthers may well break into the first team following his substitute appearances last term. Stephen Ireland will be looking to re-establish himself among the Premiership elite and could be a key player for Lambert who will be aiming for a top eight finish and perhaps a league cup win. Keep an eye out for Enda Stevens, Graham Burke and Derrick Williams, three upcoming Irish stars who may well burst onto the scene this year.

Fulham are another side hoping to crack the top eight this term following a ninth place finish last season under the guidance of Martin Jol. The Dutchman has done well to retain the services of Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele thus far as both players have courted interest from many clubs. Damien Duff and Stephen Kelly will be hoping to pick themselves up following Euro 2012. Duff will be looking to recover his form of old while Kelly, who recently signed a new contract, will be hoping to fend off new signing Sascha Riether to make the right back spot his own.

West Brom will do well to build on their tenth place finish from last term. Steve Clarke has taken over at the helm and opted to show Andrews and Cox the door. Steven Reid and Shane Long both remain at The Hawthorns and the latter will face increased competition for a starting berth this term following the arrivals of Markus Rosenberg and Romelu Lukaku.

Jon Walters will be hoping to set the Premier League alight this term following his appearances at Euro 2012. The striker will be hoping he can find the golden touch to fire The Potters to a better finish than last year. Glenn Whelan, Marc Wilson and Rory Delap all remain at the Britannia and will be key players as Tony Pulis’ side seek to build on a 14th place finish.

Wigan Athletic will be looking to avoid the drop again this season and will be delighted that manager Roberto Martinez has stayed with them. Martinez masterminded their terrific end of season form last year which saw solid wins over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. With limited resources he will do well to repeat that feat. There will be a heavy reliance on James McCarthy, who was a key player last term and was forced to miss Euro 2012 due to his father’s illness. Conor Sammon is the only other Irish player at the DW Stadium but for all his apparent strength goals have been hard to come by for the ex League of Ireland star and he will need a big change if he plans on cracking Trap’s plans.

QPR have enjoyed a great summer with their new found wealth enabling them to buy talented stars such as Park Ji Sung and David Hoilett. It’s been all change at Loftus Road, particularly in the goalkeeper ranks where Paddy Kenny has departed for Leeds United. Brian Murphy remains with QPR as a capable deputy to new number one Robert Green. Mark Hughes side shouldn’t have to worry about having another relegation battle this season.

Norwich City will be hoping second season syndrome doesn’t strike this term. It’s been all change at Carrow Road with ex Ireland international Chris Hughton replacing Lambert in the dugout. Hughton will do well to keep the Canaries up and will be looking to Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington as key players in doing so. Both players excelled last term with Hoolahan the most impressive. The former Shelbourne star has been unlucky this past week as he was forced to withdraw from Ireland’s friendly with Serbia due to injury. Nonetheless, he will be buoyed by the fact that he has finally caught the eye of Trapattoni. Marc Tierney may well earn an Ireland call up in the near future and the full back is one worth watching.

Premier League newcomers Reading will be aiming for top flight survival this term but under the guidance of Irishman Brian McDermott many expect that to be a formality. Promoted last season as champions, this Reading side features a host of Irish players. Following an impressive season last year Ian Harte was widely tipped for a shock return to the Ireland set up for Euro 2012. While that never happened it won’t discourage the ex Leeds United star who will be hoping to show he still possesses the quality to compete in the top flight. Noel Hunt will be hoping to blaze a goal trail which will earn him a return to the Ireland side while Jay Tabb is another Irish star involved with the first team. Pierce Sweeney, recently signed from League of Ireland side Bray Wanderers, may feature this term while ex Shamrock Rovers ace Karl Sheppard has been loaned to Accrington Stanley.

Playoff winners West Ham United have returned to the Premier League and will have solid ambitions which won’t feature a relegation battle. Sam Allardyce has added some fine talent to his squad and has made Irish keeper Stephen Henderson permanent, following a loan spell from Portsmouth last season. Joey O’Brien is the only other Irish player at Upton Park and he will be hoping for a standout season having been called up to the Ireland squad for the upcoming Serbia game. The three times capped star hasn’t pulled on the green jersey in over four years and will be hoping he can re-establish himself within the Irish setup. The 26 year old certainly has time on his side and time will tell if he can live up to the hype that was associated with him during his days with Bolton Wanderers.

With the World Cup qualifiers fast approaching and Trapattoni open to shuffling his pack, the time is ripe for a new star to emerge and stake his claim for a starting place.

Conservative Trap Names Predictable Euro 2012 Squad

“It has not been easy choosing 23 players because we have many other very good players who deserve to be here.”  The words used by the wily tactician that is Giovanni Trapattoni as he announced his squad for the 2012 European Championships. Despite the Ireland manager’s quotes to the context, it would have been a difficult decision to decide the vast majority of the players who are now in the squad.

At half three yesterday the Italian announced his squad for Ireland’s Euro 2012 campaign. The squad featured: 

Shay Given, Keiren Westwood, David Forde, Richard Dunne, John O’Shea, Sean St. Ledger, Darren O’Dea, Stephen Ward, Stephen Kelly, Kevin Foley, Glenn Whelan, Darren Gibson, Keith Andrews, Keith Fahey, Damien Duff, Aiden McGeady, Stephen Hunt, James McClean, Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle, Simon Cox, Shane Long, Jonathan Walters.

Standby: Darren Randolph, Paul McShane, Paul Green, Seamus Coleman, Andy Keogh.

The phrase “as expected” comes to mind when describing the squad, which is far from a bad thing. Continuity is a necessity at international level, something Trapattoni and his team have done right over his tenure as Republic of Ireland manager.

The first 11 picks itself, Given, O’Shea, Dunne, St.Ledger, Ward, Duff, Andrews, Whealan, McGeady, Keane, Doyle. The squad members are there to be used but only if necessary. The likes of James McClean, Stephen Hunt, Jonathan Walters, Shane Long and Simon Cox will have a good chance of getting on the pitch in Poland with the latter trio more then likely to replace Kevin Doyle after he runs himself into the ground. But aside from that, injuries not withstanding there will be very little change in the team.

James McCarthy will be one player who will not be on the plane to Poland after announcing his decision to withdraw from consideration after his father was diagnosed with cancer. “I have made the very difficult decision to withdraw my name from selection from the Euro 2012 squad following the diagnosis of my father with cancer and an ongoing requirement for treatment” he stated.

“I have discussed this with the manager. He was very understanding and I thank him sincerely for that.”I take this opportunity to re-affirm my complete commitment to playing for the Republic of Ireland, It is a huge honour and source of great pride for me and my family.”

He went on to wish his teammates luck stating “despite not being present, I would like to wish the manager and my team-mates every success at the tournament and hope that Irish fans can understand the reason for my decision at this difficult time.”

Ireland’s Euro 2012 campaign starts on Sunday June 10th in Poznan when the Republic of Ireland takes on Croatia. Four days later on June 14th they take on world and European Champions Spain in Gdansk. The final fixture takes place on Monday June 18th when the boys in green take on Italy.

Has Trapattoni got his squad right? Will the team be good enough to compete with Spain, Italy and Croatia? Can the team advance beyond the group stage? All interesting questions all will be answered next month.

Young Irish Abroad #2 Barry Maguire

Dutch born midfielder Barry Maguire will be known to Irish fans, even though the VVV Venlo star hasn’t pulled on the green shirt since he was 15.

The defensive midfielder, born in Tiel, Netherlands on 27 October 1989, rejected a call up for Under 21 duty in 2009 from the then Under 21 manager Don Givens. He instead opted to stay with Holland and has won caps with them at 19’s and 20’s levels.

Maguire is a strong player with good positioning and from what I’ve seen loves a tackle and would get stuck in at any time. This would be perfect for the system played by Giovanni Trapattoni as he likes to play with two holding in the centre of midfield, usually Glenn Whelan and Keith Andrews.

The situation with Maguire could be levelled with the Jamie O’Hara saga, but on a lower level. O’Hara has said he would like to represent England, which is fine, but as Johnny Giles wrote recently if he had a change of heart then we should take him. Barry Maguire has had a change of heart, but we haven’t gone for him, yet. He has just turned 22 and with his adaptability of playing out wide or at the back, he would be a fantastic player to have in the squad, even for his versatility alone.

The former Fc Utrecht man, who helped his former side knock Celtic out of Europe the season before last, has been vocal with his intentions to come back and play for Ireland. He said in an interview in 2010 that “If Ireland rang me in the morning and asked me to come and play for them, I would say yes without a thought. I would like to play for the Irish team again but I have no contact at all from them”, before adding “It’s a while since I played for Ireland at any level, five years now I think, but I have said all along that I have strong connections with Ireland, through my dad, and Holland, as I was born there, but the connection with Ireland was always strong for me and now I’d like to play for Ireland”.

Many people might feel that he might have to wait a while longer, but having played over 115 senior games in his five years as a professional he comes with a wealth of experience, having debuted for FC Den Bosch at the age of 17.

A place in the EURO 2012 squad may be undeserved, but Barry Maguire is a solid player and a definite prospect for the Irish squad in the near future.

Ireland Look To Finish Off Estonians In Style

Ireland host Estonia tomorrow in the second leg of their Euro 2012 qualifier in a match that is simply a formality yet Giovanni Trapattoni and his side are offering their opponents a high level of respect by stating the job is not yet complete.

The boys in green take a 4-0 aggregate lead into the tie having comprehensively disposed of Estonia in Tallinn on Friday night. A header from man of the match Keith Andrews, a brace from Robbie Keane and a goal on his first start from Jonathan Walters sent the travelling fans into raptures.

Many fans will be urging  Trapattoni to blood some youngsters such as Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy but it looks like the Italian will persist with his normal eleven as they attempt to seal qualification for the first time on home soil.

Some elements of the media have been extremely critical of Trapattoni`s long ball approach but the players have stood defiant beside the manager, citing the 4-0 win as proof that his tactics are working.  

Stephen Kelly is definitely out of the tie having pulled up injured. Ireland will welcome back John O`Shea from suspension to fill the void left in defence by the Fulham players absence.

Damien Duff is likely to feature despite taking a knock in Tallinn and Wolves striker Kevin Doyle may return to the starting eleven although Walters has more than earned the right to retain the jersey following his contribution in Estonia.

Newcastle United striker Leon Best has been sent back to his club after he failed to overcome a groin injury.

A party atmosphere is expected at the Aviva tomorrow (kick off 7.45pm) as Ireland will look to see off Estonia in style and reach the European Championships for only the second time.

Unless Tarmo Ruutli and his side can stage a seemly impossible comeback, Irish eyes will shift focus on the upcoming draw for the finals which takes place on December 2nd.

Trap`s Troops Set For Final Push

Giovanni Trapattoni`s Ireland side kick off a make or break double header against Andorra tonight knowing that their Euro 2012 destiny lies in their own hands. 

Victory is a must for the boys in green if they are to qualify automatically, six points from the remaining two games will ensure a playoff spot however should Russia fail to win either of their last two games Ireland could qualify automatically.

 The Irish side are well aware of the task at hand and are not underestimating an Andorran side who they have beaten with relative ease in recent times, including a 3-1 win earlier in the group. 

The tie has been somewhat overshadowed by the late decision by UEFA to move the tie from Barcelona to Andorra, thus hampering the travelling plans of many Irish fans. 

The Italian hasn’t made any major changes after recent suggestions that Birmingham City star Keith Fahey would start in place of Keith Andrews.

 Moscow hero Richard Dunne is out through suspension so Ireland welcome back Sean St Ledger who missed last months draw with Russia. With six players carrying yellow cards Trapattoni will be hoping his side put in a disciplined performance as Armenia await on Tuesday. 

Stephen Ward continues at left back while Sunderland’s John O`Shea takes over from Stephen Kelly at right back. Kevin Doyle retains his place despite his poor performance in recent outings.

A lot will be expected of midfield duo Andrews and Glenn Whelan, who have been heavily criticised for letting matches bypass them in recent times. Trappattoni has told Whelan to carry on as normal despite running the risk of suspension.

   Asked if Whelan’s situation was a concern, the Italian said: “Absolutely not.

“We have played well in the past when we have had players missing, against Italy, against Croatia and others.

“We must play with the right team and wait and see what happens.

“I hope not. I will advise him to be careful, but he must play like he always does.

“We have other midfielders. We have to play to win this game and ahead of the game in Dublin, we have time to think.

“These three points are more important than whether he gets a yellow card or not.”

  Ireland team to face Andorra (Friday, 20.30): Given, O’Shea, St Ledger, O’Dea, Ward; Duff, Whelan, Andrews, McGeady; Doyle, Keane.

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

With Ireland fresh off the back of four straight victories it will be a long wait until our next competitive match in September. Such momentum would have been pivotal to carry into our next two crucial qualifiers that will determine our faith yet as the players take a break Irish News Review looks back at the highlights of a memorable season.

A is for Andorra. Ireland were pitted against the European minnows yet again en route to Euro 2012. 

B is for Bratislava. Ireland earned a point away to Slovakia but could have emerged with a win had Robbie Keane not missed a penalty on the stroke of half time. 

C is for Cox. West Brom star broke into Ireland team at the end of the season featuring in the final four games and scoring against both Northern Ireland and Italy. 

D is for David. Millwall goalkeeper Forde makes his debut against Italy at the age of 31, becoming the country’s oldest debutant in the post war era. 

E is for England. Possible friendly with the old enemy has been muted but as of yet no date has been arranged. 

F is for Fifty. The number of goals Robbie Keane eclipsed this season, breaking Bobby Charlton’s record in the north west corner of Europe. 

G is for Glasgow. The birthplace of James McCarthy whose international allegiance was questioned prior to him lining out in a competitive match for Ireland. 

H is for Hunger. Something Shay Given has never lost while sitting on the Man City bench all season. The Donegal native has shown no sign of decline in his performances despite Roberto Mancini`s constant refusal to pick him. 

I is for Ignorance. The FAI`s inability to reduce ticket prices has often led to a large number of empty seats at the 50,000 capacity Aviva.

 J is for John. FAI chief executive tried to appease fans by laying on trains and drink in Slovakia. 

K is for Kevin Doyle.Ireland will be hoping the Wexford native will be fit for September`s crucial qualifiers against joint Group B leaders Slovakia and Russia.

L is for Liege. Goals from Keith Andrews and Simon Cox ensured a famous 2-0 friendly victory over Italy in Belgium. 

M is for Macedonia. Back to back victories over the Macedonians leaves Ireland in a three horse tie at the top of the Euro 2012 qualifying group. 

N is for Nations Cup. Ireland swept aside Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to win the inaugural Carling Nations Cup.

 O is for O`Dea. Ipswich star slotted in comfortably in the absence of both Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger. 

P is for Pride. While some players have been questioned over their commitment to the cause, a new wave of talent is emerging that is hungrier than ever to wear the green shirt. 

Q is for Quality. While Ireland’s players are far from world beaters, the guidance of Trapattoni has gotten the best out of them. 

R is for Russia. The men from the Soviet Union taught the boys in green a lesson at the Aviva, a return date in September will define the group standings. 

S is for Seamus. Break out year for Everton star Seamus Coleman who has become a squad regular under Trapattoni. 

T is for Trickovski. The Macedonian star saw his penalty strike the crossbar in Skopje as Ireland earned a crucial 2-0 win. 

U is for Unbeaten. Great end of season form sees Ireland win four games in a row without conceding a goal. 

V is for Victory. To date Giovanni Trapattoni has a 46% win rate since taking over as Ireland manager in 2008.

W is for Walters. Stoke City striker pulls on the green jersey yet season ends in turmoil as he failed to show for end of season friendlies.

X is for X-Rated. Fiery Trap`s pitchside antics may not be too pleasing to parents ears. 

Y is for Yerevan. The Armenian capital where Ireland opened their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. A Keith Fahey goal was enough to see Ireland take the three points 

Z is for Ze Hand. Thierry Henry`s cheeky handball that cost Ireland dearly hasn’t been forgotten, providing Trap with motivation to continue on until the 2014 World Cup as he has “unfinished business”.