herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

John Giles: Trap should give Mac a call

I'm never unhappy when Ireland win an international and there were plenty of good reasons to be pleased about the Nations Cup win over Wales.

But the issue of James McCarthy has created a completely unnecessary fuss over what seems to be nothing much at all.

It seems straightforward enough to me. Roberto Martinez wanted to rest his best player who is coming back after a long injury lay-off and needs to be eased back into service.

I went through many, many situations like this as a player when I was on the way back from an injury and wasn't too sure about my fitness.

Whether it's an ankle or a knee or anywhere else, there's a natural reluctance to push it too hard and if presented with a choice like young McCarthy had last week, I think I would have made the same one he did.

Giovanni Trapattoni went through exactly the same process of injury and recovery and he knows well that McCarthy was doing what all players do when faced with a decision like this.

EXCEPTIONAL

There are exceptional circumstances when players will answer a call when they might be smarter to lie low but this was a friendly international in February, the player is only back after a serious injury and Trapattoni didn't name him in his squad in the first place.

Those three ingredients and, I'm sure, advice from the football professionals around him, combined to set him on a course which meant he would stay in Wigan and work on his fitness.

I can, of course, also understand the natural instinct of the international manager to have the best players he can find at his command as often as possible and to be annoyed if he cannot.

But again, there's an inconsistency. Trapattoni has always seemed reluctant to select McCarthy and it seemed to me that he had made a judgement on the kid.

I accepted that rather than the idea that he didn't see any role for an obvious talent in his squad but McCarthy's progress has been impressive over the last six months and managers must always be open to changing circumstances.

Had McCarthy's ability been acknowledged in August and space made for him in the senior squad, perhaps he would now be in the running for a starting role against Macedonia next month.

He's certainly as good as anyone else Trapattoni can pick in midfield.

OPTIMISTIC

I'm surprised Trapattoni made his case publicly. If he had kept his thoughts to himself, this would not be an issue but I'm optimistic that the whole thing will blow over.

I certainly don't have any reason to believe that young McCarthy is thinking about switching to Scotland but it would be no harm if Trapattoni had a chat with the lad and cleared the air.

It's not the first time Trapattoni has fallen out publicly with some of his players and I'm not sure I understand what it is he is trying to achieve.

It's mostly hot air and wasted energy and I do think it's a bit daft to risk alienating McCarthy because of a throwaway remark about his commitment to Ireland.

Trapattoni has plenty to think about without creating problems for himself. The win over Wales offers some promising possibilities.

For a start, Seamus Coleman is the real deal – a real player. He is ready to play against any team, including Macedonia, if he's allowed.

Ciarán Clark is another fantastic find and hats off to Richard Dunne for that. This lad can fill three positions well and he's a great addition to the squad.

McCarthy is another who should be in the squad every time now.

These are the players who will make up the team that tries to qualify for Brazil and beyond.

There were other pluses. I think Damien Duff looks as fit and as well as I've seen for years. His old spark is back and he was excellent against the Welsh – another great bonus for Trapattoni.

Young Gibson scored a fine goal but I still haven't seen him take control of midfield and try to run a game.

He lacks the aggression for that. John O'Shea is coming into form and he was another who did well against Wales. It's a good time to be playing well at Old Trafford and Trapattoni should see the benefit of that in the months ahead.

Related Content


Promoted articles

Entertainment News