New Direction For The Irish Team
Long Live The King
This week, Noel King took his seat at the top table of the media room in the FAI headquarters in Abbotstown. Not for the first time I'm sure, but all his previous engagements here were nothing like this.
Used to announcing his U-21 squad to no more than half a dozen hacks, this was something new. This week’s press conference was played out in front of dozens of seasoned journalists all waiting with baited breath for something new, something that would generate a few talking points and something different to what we have called the norm for the last 5 years.
Noel King Delivered
Since being appointed last week, it seems that Noel King has been to more Premiership games than Trapattoni has been to in the last 5 years. He explained that he feels seeing players on a DVD or watching Sky Sports are no comparison to watching them in the flesh. It seems that King has a different view from Trapattoni on how the game should be played and has placed more emphasis on the players rather than the system. This new view has resulted in the recalls of a few old faces to the squad.
Kevin Doyle must have thought that since being dropped by Trapattoni and now playing in league one that his chance had gone, especially after a summer transfer window where rumours circulated for months of an impending move but he found himself still at Molineux when the window closed. King clearly feels he has a lot to offer the squad.
Anthony Stokes has earned his recall after being overlooked by Trapattoni since he pulled out of the 2011 Nations Cup squad due to tiredness. He's had a lot of time since then to recuperate and rest during the International breaks and with his current form this season, he brings hope to an Irish squad lacking an in-form out and out striker.
It was of no real surprise to hear of Darren Gibson's recall as he had expressed his desire to re-join the squad since his self-imposed exile after what he felt was a humiliating EURO 2012 where he got no action during Ireland’s 3 group games. He will certainly bring a little more creativity back to our midfield and with James McCarthy beside him our midfield suddenly looks like a more imposing unit.
A few eyebrows were raised when Andy Reid’s name was called out. A few years have passed since the immensely talented but sometimes lethargic midfielder was mentioned in the same breath as some of the world’s most creative players. This may have been over the top but he certainly is a welcomed addition to our squad for the first time since he fell out with Trapattoni after our World Cup qualifying game against Georgia in Germany in 2008. Reid has been in sparkling form this year with his club Nottingham Forest and certainly deserves another shot at international football.
The Irish Team: The Future Looks Bright
Public opinion since the squad was announced has been mostly positive. Most people have welcomed the change in direction from previous squads and are now looking forward to our two final world cup qualifiers with a little more hope, even though qualification is now dead in the water.
The future looks a little brighter, but all will be told within the next two weeks!
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