Trap spoilt for choice
GIOVANNI Trapattoni can put his fears about Kevin Doyle's fitness to one side in the run-up to Ireland's Euro 2012 double-header against Slovakia and Russia.
In fact, Trapattoni's three key attacking options – Doyle, Shane Long and skipper Robbie Keane – all look fit, sharp and in scoring form.
Trapattoni was concerned that Doyle's knee ligament injury would be an ongoing source of worry right up until the Ireland squad gathers in Dublin in a week's time. That opinion and Trapattoni's decision to offer it in public drew a short and sharp response from Mick McCarthy. “People should listen to me rather than what's been said over there (in Ireland),” said McCarthy when he predicted that Doyle would be fit to face Fulham. With Doyle now attracting renewed interest from Anfield and the Emirates, McCarthy is facing the possibility of losing his key striker.
Doyle has yet to sign a new contract offered by Wolves three months ago and is keeping his options open as the transfer deadline looms. Kenny Dalglish is believed to be poised to make a £10m bid to prise him loose from Wolves. The Anfield supremo needs another striker to mix it with Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll and has been monitoring Doyle.
Dalglish sent a scout to take another close look at Doyle yesterday, who has also attracted Arsene Wenger's attention and could yet feature as one of the big moves in the final week of the transfer deadline. Anfield football director Damien Comolli made several attempts to bring Doyle to Liverpool and believes that the Wexford man could be a relative bargain in an over-inflated market. While Doyle watches and waits, former Reading team mate Long is making all the headlines at West Brom and according to boss Roy Hodgson, it is only a matter of time before bigger fish come nosing around West Brom with cheque-books in hand.
“He was ripe for a move to the Premier League and Reading were very sad to lose him,” claimed Hodgson. “He proved his credentials and maturity at a very young age and now he has the platform to show what he can do. “If he continues to improve at the same rate as his meteoric rise of the last three years I wouldn't be surprised if bigger clubs than West Brom are soon knocking on the door. But I'm hoping to get a lot of good use out of him this year,” said Hodgson.
The performances of both Doyle and Long this weekend overshadowed the scoring debut enjoyed by Keane in Los Angeles. With more than a few Irish flags in the crowd at the Home Depot Centre, Keane hit the ground running onto a David Beckham free-kick and scored a neat debut goal. ELATED “When you come to a new team, it's always nice to get your first goal,” Keane said. “You can go a few games where you don't score, and sometimes it can play on your mind, so it was nice, obviously, to get the first goal. “And, hopefully, there's a lot more to come.
“We're elated with Robbie,” said boss Bruce Arena after the game. “I think he had a great 70 minutes for us tonight, and we think there's a lot of great games ahead for Robbie and our team.” All three of Trapattoni's top goal-poachers will be looking over their shoulder at Adam Rooney, who scored again for Birmingham City in a 3-1 defeat by Middlesbrough and has been tipped for great things by his boss Chris Hughton.