Friday, 17 August 2007

The International Break

Well, another international break is upon us (crept up fast didn't it, what with it being a mere six days into the season now)

Next Wednesday we have a friendly: Denmark v Rep of Ireland, in a match sure to set the blood racing in at least one person, known extrovert Stan Staunton, Ireland's more boring version of Alan Curbishley.

For everyone else, the game will probably mean nothing, serving only as a warm-up for next month's Euro 2008 qualifiers against Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Colgan (Barnsley, caps 9), Doyle (Birmingham, 1), Henderson (Preston, 5),

Carr (Newcastle, 43), Dunne (Man City, 35), Finnan (Liverpool, 46), Kelly (Birmingham, 5), McShane (Sunderland, 5), O'Shea (Man Utd, 38),

Douglas (Leeds, 7), Hunt (Reading, 5), Ireland (Man City, 5), Kilbane (Wigan, 80), McGeady (Celtic, 10), O'Brien (Hibernian, 5), Potter (Wolves, 2), Reid (Charlton, 22),

Doyle (Reading, 9), Elliot (Wolves, 9), Keane (Tottenham, 72), Keogh (Wolves, 1), Long (Reading, 4), Murphy (Sunderland, 2).

The absence of Given and Duff is a blessing in disguise for Irish fans, it means we get to see the impressive Colin Doyle in goal, and the madcap Steven Hunt on the left wing, a chance one suspects that would not have been given had Staunton the choice.
In defence, it is a chance for McShane to continue his improvement, and in midfield, Steven Ireland to gain more experience on the international stage. 'Fat boy' Andy Reid will eat up (sorry, couldn't resist) the opportunity also.

Up front, Ireland have plenty of options and a decent run out should be given to Long and Murphy.

So, on the surface, a nothing game, but a few interesting subplots to think about.

With every international, thoughts naturally turn to our neighbours, England. As ever, the proceedings off the pitch claim the headlines, with McClaren recently seen groveling in Liverpool, begging Carragher to help him out just for a friendly match, albeit one against Germany. As Gerrard will not play, it is the perfect chance for McClaren to sort out his midfield problems for the crucial autumn qualifiers.
John Terry, Owen Hargreaves, and Michael Owen are also in the squad, but will not play either, they will be there for their experience and to team spirit. Hmmm. Will they be teaching the others how to miss penalties, get a transfer or stay injured permanently?

Beckham, Campbell & James are all in, meaning that it's the same old England.
So, find yourself a nuclear bunker next Thursday to avoid the slaughtering...

Good luck


JJ said...

I can't believe that Douglas is still in the squad. He's a league one (minus 12 points) player whereas there's Liam Miller playing in the Premiership and he doesn't even get a sniff.

Despite the tit of a manager, Ireland can get something out of the games in slovakia and czech republic but there needs to be an awful dose of luck, plenty of fit players who ply their trade in the Premiership and plenty of injuries to the other teams. Could happen, but probably won't happen.

As for England... dark times ahead lads, dark times ahead.

Mark said...

yea, douglas is pretty brutal, i don't thinkt hings are that bad that he has to include a lower championship/league one standard player.

like you say, miller would be a better bet, but roy keane did say there was an anti-cork bias!!

Parrotbait said...

Think in goal Ireland are a bit dodgy,Doyle so far has had an absolute stinker of a season for Birmingham - was at fault for another goal during the weekend, only a matter of time before Maik Taylor comes back in at this stage.
McShane is out unfortunately.

Would like to see Long up front with Doyle, I don't think Murphy has the quality necessary for Premiership let alone international football. Ireland should get a start in midfield, his form with Man City has been great, Hunt too has started well interesting to see what that mad-bastard does on the wing.

All-in-all, if Ireland have a full squad, I would almost go as far as saying that this is almost the strongest or at least squad with most potential since the mid-nineties? We've actually got options up front,defence is looking okish and midfield looks good too, what do ye think?

My current Ireland best XI

Finnan - Dunne - McShane - Kelly/Carr/O'Shit
Hunt/McGeady -Steven Reid - Ireland - Duff
Keane - Doyle

Not bad eh?!Need a left back and for Steven Reid to get over injuries to solidify the team, otherwise I'd almost stick in Carsley in midfield instead of Reid.

Mark said...

have to agree parrot,
my team is similar

Finnan - Dunne - McShane - O'Shea
Hunt/McGeady -Steven Reid - Ireland - Duff

Keane - Doyle

Duff needs to have a spell of games where he plays well again. saying that though, Stan will always pick him regardless of form, once he's fit

I agree we're in a much better position than a few years ago, there's strength in the first 11, McGeady should get a peoper chance at RW to see if he can be teh solution, and hopefully reid will come back well, but carsley is a good short term option

good to see some youth coming through

JJ said...

It is a strong squad but I'm not sure that Ireland is particularly comfortable in the middle. I'd like to see Keane and Doyle play a few games together, if there's any chance of them clicking it'd be great news for the team.

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