Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Night of Frustration for Seamus Coleman

We’ve all had that friend, relative or co-worker who always goes against the grain, sometimes it can be annoying because it seems they are only doing whatever it is they do just to be different. They are doing it because very few others would. After a while they do it so often, to do anything else would be a massive surprise. It is a little like the disgruntled teenager who gets into an alternative rock band because they are exactly that, alternative. That is until everyone else hears about the band and through a numbers game they gradually become mainstream. At this point the disgruntled teenager must jettison the band and seek out someone else just as obscure as the original band were at the original point of discovery.
Maybe that friend, relative or co-worker is being different just to annoy or maybe they know more than the rest of us. Maybe they realise that the majority of people haven’t a clue what they are talking about. Maybe also mainstream music is absolute rubbish.
In the lead up to last night’s friendly between the Republic of Ireland and Norway all the speculation surrounding the Irish camp was about Seamus Coleman. Originally Coleman was hotly tipped to make some kind of appearance against the Scandinavians, and following the numerous withdrawals from the squad there was speculation that Coleman may even start. This speculation had a sound base in reason; Coleman has been in fine form for Everton in the Premier League of late and has proved he can create a goal as well as score a goal. Coleman in fact scored recently against Blackpool, a club where he was out on loan last season and was a driving force in their ascent to the promised land of the Premier League. Coleman has proved his versatility at Everton by operating both in defence and midfield.
Giovanni Trapattoni named his first eleven and there was no sign of Seamus Coleman. The back four included rare starts for Stephen Kelly, Darren O’Dea and Greg Cunningham.  Cunningham it must be said had a fine night and did his chances of future inclusion no harm at all. Having said that Cunningham, on loan from Manchester City at Leicester City in the Championship, is operating a full division below Coleman.
Other possible slots for Seamus Coleman on the starting eleven were on either flank of midfield, he has had a lot of time out wide right for Everton this season. This wasn’t to be as Damien Duff was named on the left wing and Liam Lawrence got the nod in the right hand side. In a game where the result was always going to be of secondary importance it has hard to see what was to be gained by evaluating what either Duff or Lawrence could do in these positions, surely Trapattoni is well aware of both players ability at this stage.
The game itself ended 2-1 to the visitors, a result that will be even more meaningless next Monday morning than it was twenty seconds after the final whistle. Ireland opened the scoring on five minutes from the spot courtesy of the very impressive Shane Long. This advantage was overturned following two sweet strikes of the ball by Morten Gamst Pedersen. The first was a glorious free kick on thirty four minutes after Stephen Kelly was unlucky to land on the ball with his hand while challenging on the edge of the hosts penalty area. A glorious strike no doubt, however Shay Given may have settled a step to close to his left hand post after setting up his wall. A mistake or evidence or rustiness? Then on eighty six minutes Pedersen found himself on the left hand side of the Irish penalty area with the defence severely stretched. He played a beautiful arcing ‘daisy cutter’ of a cross between defenders and keeper, the very grateful Huseklepp was on hand at the back post to slot the ball home.
In between the two result changing swings of a leg by the Blackburn Rovers midfielder Trapattoni made four changes, but still no room for Coleman.
The most puzzling would have been the introduction of Aiden McGeady at half time and Stephen Hunt on seventy four minutes, both employed on the midfield flanks. Just as Trapattoni was fully aware of the abilities starting wide men, Duff and Lawrence, absolutely nothing Hunt or McGeady could have done would have surprised the Irish supremo or anyone in the Aviva Stadium last night. One has boundless energy and displays the enthusiasm of a Jack Russell chasing a tennis ball but his touch all too often lets him down. The other can show off some lovely touches, spin away from most defenders around today but frustratingly seems to perform 98% of the task on an all too regular occurrence.
Seamus Coleman can now only hope to get his first cap in next year’s Carling Nations Cup. A tournament that despite the impending sales job and some level of hype can only be expected to rise to the level of a collection of friendlies with some silverware at the end to ensure the sponsors get a nice photo shot. A start or a significant period on the pitch against the Norwegians, ranked thirteenth in the world, would surely have provided a better test of the International credentials of Coleman than an outing against Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
On the positive side Greg Cunningham performed admirably at full back. Shane Long again showed his worth to the Irish cause, and if Robbie Keane does not get out of White Hart Lane in January it would not be unreasonable to suggest that Ireland would get more out of a Long and Doyle partnership than any version containing Keane. Keith Fahey may have found the restrictions of playing in a Giovanni Trapattoni centre midfield a little frustrating and Darren O’Dea reminded all that his concentration can lapse for a split second.  The twenty seven year old Jon Walters made his senior debut and showed he is full of endeavour and running but not a huge amount else, but then again Giovanni Trapattoni has proved he is a big fan of both endeavour and running.  


Anonymous said...

If there's one area we have strength its wingers...our cup does fact so much so McG was on its reasonable not to play Coleman when u are trying out a totally knew defence with two complete rookies and a third who has only a handful of caps...

November 18, 2010 at 12:29 PM

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