herald

Monday 11 December 2017

SHAM BLES!

Trap's vision for Ireland was flawed from the start and he has alienated top players

SHAMBLES. It's not a word I like using but I can't find another to describe Ireland's performance against Italy and in the tournament as a whole.

There was grit, determination and spirit on show against Italy in abundance but that's the default setting for all Irish teams and the least we should expect.

But after that and a decent enough opening half-hour, there was no shape and no visible plan.

Right now, Giovanni Trapattoni's hold on his players must be very fragile and I believe he must make a big statement of intent to bring everyone back onside.

His vision has not worked out and I think he has become too fixated on it to the exclusion of making sensible decisions.

He must tell everyone, but the players in particular, that he intends to embrace change and the men he left behind along the road during the last four years or he will find it very, very difficult to continue.

It is not hard to understand why Ireland's Euro 2012 effort was so poor. I don't think it's unfair to say that Trapattoni's team was the worst in the competition.

But I would never say that his players were the worst in Poland and the Ukraine. But I would say that his system was the least effective.

Results do not lie and when you examine the performances, it is clear that the system he came up with when he first took the job was not fit for purpose.

Sure it got some results and sure Ireland qualified for Euro 2012 but Trapattoni's system was exposed for all it's inadequacies by teams that want to play football.

I could never understand how Trapattoni's vision could not incporpate good players and that stretches all the way back to Andy Reid.

No system is worth a jot if it cannot find a place for someone with talent yet it seemed that Trapattoni was almost obsessed with the notion that Irish players were only good enough to play a certain way and that he could not deviate one iota from that.

But we saw in Paris and on other sporadic occasions that the players can play and that his system was a straight-jacket.

His vision for Ireland was flawed from the start and he alienated players along the way.

My fear is that he has alienated too many both inside and outside the squad and if he does not put that right very quickly, the campaign for Brazil 2014 will grind to halt before it even starts.

We will see over the next few days and weeks how many of Ireland' senior men decide to go and the signs do not look good for the likes of Richard Dunne, Shay Given and Damien Duff.

I don't want to see those players give up international football. It would remove the heart from this group of players and we need them, that is certain.

But they have to be allowed to play and if they are not, I can understand why they would want to go.

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