Kilbane: Give new lads a go
KEVIN KILBANE believes it would be a mistake for Giovanni Trapattoni to close the door to the Euro 2012 finals for any latecomers bidding to make it into the national squad.
Recent weeks have seen a number of younger players make a name for themselves across the water, with Derry boys James McClean (Sunderland) and Shane Duffy (Everton) earning rave reviews for their displays in the English Premier League, while Dublin-born teenager Robbie Brady caught the eye again during his loan spell to Hull City from Manchester United by scoring the winner for his club against Reading.
Portsmouth keeper Stephen Henderson is also impressing and was last week linked with a move to Newcastle United - and the common thread is that all of those players are uncapped at senior level.
Those who have played for the seniors, such as Leon Best (Newcastle), Marc Wilson (Stoke) and Ciaran Clark (Aston Villa) have also been in very good form recently, but appear to have little hope of making it into the squad under Trapattoni.
Earlier this month, Trapattoni made it clear that he was likely to ignore the claims of players like McClean - who still needs to complete some paperwork with FIFA in relation to his 'defection' from Northern Ireland before he's cleared to play for the Republic - to make it onto the plane to Poland in the summer.
"We have respect for these new players but we must have respect for the players who achieved qualification. These players showed us good results, they achieved the qualification and I think they deserve to go," said Trapattoni, a statement which also appeared to rule out a Euro 2012 role for possible new converts to the Irish cause such as Darren Ambrose (Crystal Palace) and Alex Pearce (Reading).
But Kilbane, who will miss the rest of this season and the Euro finals due to injury, thinks Trap should keep his options open.
"You can't close any doors, which seems to be the case with Mr Trapattoni. He seems to have closed the door to anyone who is making a late run for the squad." Kilbane said.
"It's a dangerous game to play, if you do that you are writing off so many quality footballers who could play their way into it.
"Players now need to concentrate on playing well for their clubs and play well until the end of the season to give themselves a chance, but right now it looks as if Mr Trapattoni is limiting himself to the players who helped him qualify.
"I know the way the manager thinks, he works really hard on the organisation of the team and the way his side is set up, and I think he would feel that if he did bring anyone else into the side now, they might not be able to adapt to his system quickly enough for a major tournament," added Kilbane.