The squad Giovanni Trapattoni will announce on Friday, for the upcoming friendly against the Czech Republic will, in all likelihood, be the Ireland squad to partake in this summer’s European championship. But it will not, unfortunately, contain too many surprises. Trap’s insistence of sticking with the tried and trusted individuals who have gotten Ireland this far, means that there will be very little if any space for players whose current performances would merit them a call up with any other nation. Trap has his boys and he’s staying loyal to them. This loyalty may seem very noble and honest but at what cost?
There are players currently plying their trade in the English Premier League who are markedly better than some of the players that Trap has thus far used. The man himself would say that the players he has used so far are the ones who have got us this far and that it is only right that they be the ones who should go to Poland/ Ukraine. But the problem is that ignoring skilful players who are currently performing well and indeed setting the EPL alight smacks of craziness.
In my view there are a number of players who should be on the plane to Poznan and so I have compiled this squad of top performing Irishmen in the EPL. (And of course I have added in a couple of players who I know Trapattoni will not leave behind and who are not playing in the EPL)
Shay Given, Kieran Westwood, Darren Randolph
Richard Dunne, John O’Shea, Stephen Ward, Marc Tierney, Ciaran Clark, Seamus Coleman, Kevin Foley, Sean St Ledger.
Stephen Hunt, Damien Duff, Darren Gibson, Glenn Whelan, Aiden McGeady, James McCarthy, James McClean, Anthony Pilkington,.
Robbie Keane, Shane Long, Kevin Doyle, Jonathon Walters.
Leaving out Leon Best was a hard call but Walters is playing so well and scoring at the moment that it would be madness not to bring him. Dropping Kevin Doyle was not an option either as he always seems to perform better for Ireland than he does for Wolves. But in not naming Best I have found that maybe I am also falling into the loyalty eh trap (no pun intended).
At the end of it all I don’t envy Traps job but I think this squad here has more potential than any that will be named in three weeks.