Posts Tagged ‘Trapattoni|League of Ireland|Premier League|soccer’

With the year almost at its end, it is the perfect time to start making predictions for the coming twelve months and in football terms that means tipping certain players to make a big impact.

Giovanni Trapattoni will have a few friendly games (and possibly a summer training camp) to test out potential new squad players before the Euro 2012 qualifiers start, but who is on his radar?

There are the obvious names like Andy Reid (Sunderland) and Keith Fahey (Birmingham City), but here are eleven players that just might be in the Republic of Ireland manager's thoughts.

If you think someone else deserves to make this list, then post your comments in the space provided below.

Goalkeeper: Brian Murphy (Ipswich Town)

Yes, it was only a few posts ago that this blogger was suggesting that this Waterford-born shot-stopper was on his way to becoming one of the top Irish keepers. He has yet to make his debut for Ipswich after leaving Bohemians, although it should be only a matter of time before he lights up the Coca-Cola Championship with his excellent displays. If he can hold down a regular place for his club then he should bump Joe Murphy and Wayne Henderson out of the way to occupy that third goalkeeper spot in the Ireland squad. Perhaps he might even jump ahead of Kieren Westwood in the pecking order.

Right-Back: Seamus Coleman (Everton)

Anybody who has a passing interest in Irish football will have been made aware of this talented defender after he scooped the Man of the Match award on his Premier League debut against Tottenham Hotspur. While he still has a long way to go in order to displace both Tony Hibbert and Lucas Neill from the Everton team, he has certainly stated his intent to do exactly that. The former Sligo Rovers player is quick to react to danger, comfortable using both feet, has a good sense of positioning, puts in the type of crunching tackles that can wingers detest, and is superb at counter attacking. Surely he is the next great Irish right-back.

Centre-Back: Kevin Long (Burnley)

Just like Murphy, he has yet to feature for his new club after ending his time with Cork City to try his luck in England. This giant defender is only on the cusp of the Ireland U-21 squad, but he could find himself being promoted to the senior set-up like Eddie Nolan if he catches the eye over the coming months. While he still has a lot to learn, Long showed in the League of Ireland last season that he can transform into a top centre-back with a little tweaking and some more experience. He may have joined the right club in Burnley as he attempts to make the breakthrough in the Premier League.

Centre-Back: Marc Wilson (Portsmouth)

Already holding down a first-team place each week in the Premier League, this 22-year-old must be in Trapattoni's thoughts. The Irish boss was even spotted watching him in action recently, so a call-up to a friendly squad should be on the cards for a player who can provide real competition for Sean St Ledger at centre-back. He covers a lot of ground very quickly, he is equally as strong in the air and in the tackle, has a decent range of passing, and can only improve as he has youth on his side. The fact that he can also play right-back means he could be the man to push Paul McShane out of the international fold.

Left-Back: Conor Powell (Bohemians)

The reigning PFAI Young Player of the Year has already impressed Mr. Trapattoni as well as a host of scouts who became regular visitors to Dalymount Park last season. For a young left-back Powell has it all. He links play well, makes the kind of over-lapping runs expected of modern full-backs, never shirks out of a challenge, takes advice on-board, and does the basics very well. Consistency is something that full-backs used to always be associated with, well here is a player that is consistently brilliant in that position and should be a contender for Kevin Kilbane's spot even though Stephen Ward (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Eddie Nolan (Preston North End), and Damien Delaney (Ipswich Town) are also eyeing it up.

Right Wing: Mark Yeates (Middlesbrough)

With an Ireland B cap already behind him, the next step for this former Tottenham striker is to get a senior call-up. He started out as a frontman for Spurs, although he was converted to a winger when he moved to Colchester United, where he stood out in League One. During the summer he earned a move to Middlesbrough, where he has just forced his way back into the team under new manager Gordon Strachan. The Dubliner posesses the frightening combination of pace and trickery, while also having an eye for goal. He is a player that should be looked at more closely and considered as a squad option.

Centre Midfield: James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic)

The second-half of the season might be kinder to this Scottish-born playmaker as he has only racked up two appearances for Wigan since sealing a move from Hamilton. If he doesn't fit into Roberto Martinez's plan for this campaign, then a loan move will surely come about. Once he starts playing regularly again, McCarthy will remind people why he was so highly rated in the SPL. He is the type of midfielder that can split a defence open with a direct pass or piercing run, but he can supply the finishing touch himself as he has proved with his set-pieces and long-range shots.

Centre Midfield: Chris McCann (Burnley)

Battling back from a knee injury, this rampaging midfielder is exactly the type of player that would easily slot into Trapattoni's system. He is similar in a lot of ways to Keith Andrews, but arguably can control the tempo of a game better than the Blackburn Rovers player. In his first season in the Premier League, McCann needs to prove himself at this level if he is to convince the Ireland manager that he deserves a call-up. Once back to full fitness, he should do just that as he has enough talent and drive to ensure that he stands out.

Left Wing: Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City)

It may seem like quite a while since this tricky attacker was involved in the training camp in Portugal that Trapattoni hosted as he searched for new players. Hoolahan impressed then and should have gone on to earn more call-up's, but it wasn't to be. One of the reasons for that is because Ireland are overloaded with left-sided wingers (Damien Duff, Stephen Hunt, Aiden McGeady), although with his 11 goals for Norwich this season coming from a new free role position he could just be an option to have in the squad in case a moment of magic is needed on either flank or in the centre. He is an attacker that consistently provides an end product - how many Irish wingers can say that?

Striker: Jonathan Walters (Ipswich Town)

He might operate as a winger most of the time for his club, but Walters is someone that should be looked at for the striking department. The Irish team need a few forwards and this hard-working ace provides the type of threat in attack that Trapattoni is on the look-out for. With Andy Keogh and Noel Hunt both out injured, this could be the right time for him to stake his claim for a shot at an international career. He has been Ipswich's best player so far this season and should be in consideration for the next friendly squad due to his club form alone.

Striker: Chris F-a-g-a-n (Lincoln City)

Yes, this is a wayward choice compared to the others listed above, but there is something about him that suggests he is destined for greater things. After coming through the Manchester United academy he was cruelly released before some time spent at the Glenn Hoddle Academy sparked the interest of a few clubs. A short spell with Hamilton didn't go to plan, although he has started to make an impact with Lincoln. A striker who plays just on the shoulder of the last defender, he is quick to pounce on anything inside the opposition's box and has the potential to become an excellent goalscorer.

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