Posts Tagged ‘Trapattoni|soccer’

Due to the snow hanging around as long as injury time normally takes at Old Trafford there wasn't too much football played over the weekend.

However, if Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni requests a dvd of the latest game involving Irish players he might be surprised to be handed the Coca-Cola Championship clash between Leicester City and Ipswich Town.

With Alex Bruce, Damien Delaney, Owen Garvan and Jon Walters all in action at the Walkers Stadium on Sunday, it would do the Ireland boss no harm to look back over the 1-1 draw.

If Trapattoni does sit down to watch the game he will be surely be impressed by Walters, who was excellent throughout for Roy Keane's side and probably deserved to be voted Man of the Match.

The 26-year-old's performance could even convince Trapattoni to call him up for the Brazil friendly in March - if he wasn't already planning on it.

A different kind of forward

Back in December this blog picked Walters as one of eleven Irish players to watch out for in 2010. Well it took the former Bolton Wanderers player just ten days to make his mark on the new year.

Right from the very start of Sunday's game, he showed why Keane recently handed him the captain's armband as he chased down an over-hit pass, beat the opposition defender to it, swiveled around and set Jack Colback away, who in turn crossed for David Norris to force Ryan McGivern into scoring an own goal. Less than thirty seconds had passed in the game and Walters' determination had led to the opening goal.

That was a sign of things to come from the powerful forward as he came close with a couple of headed chances as well as working tirelessly to create opportunities for his team-mates. But there is so much more to him than just bulldozing his way past (and sometimes into) defenders as he showed that he is far from content with playing just a minor role.

Whether he was barking encouragement at his fellow Ipswich players, making clever runs off the ball or simply holding up play, he was constantly looking to get involved and that is a characteristic that Trapattoni adores in players.

The 4-4-1-1 formation that Keane usually employs for away games suits Walters as he is often the man tasked with playing just behind the main striker, but he has easily adapted to other positions - most notably on the right wing - when he is needed to fill in, so he is most definitely a different kind of forward to the one's that have been occupying the spaces on the Ireland roster.

Not prolific, but effective

If one were to judge every player on statistics alone then there would be very few that meet the high demands set by supporters, managers and the media. However, they do provide the necessary information to judge a player's consistency and can be used to gauge their development.

In Walters' case, he has started a lot of games since joining Ipswich in 2007, but his critics will argue that his goals-to-games ratio is not as high as it should be. After netting 4 times in his first season, he then hit 13 the next year before ending last term with 7 goals.

So far this season he has scored 6 goals, which is not a bad return - especially if one considers how many games he has played out on the wing. But the thing about Walters is that he is never going to be prolific in front of goal. He might go on a few good streaks, although he won't ever top of the league's scoring charts.

Not every striker needs to a superb scoring record to justify their place in the team. For example, look at Emile Heskey for England. They are quite the same type of player, but the point is that Walters contributes much more than just the odd goal.

Competition for places in Ireland's striking department is set to heat up over the next month, although as Trapattoni considers all of his options he will surely be looking at Walters as a player who can make an impact on games as well as bringing the best out of those around him.

A first senior call-up shouldn't be too far away if he can keep playing the way that he did against Leicester and helping his club climb higher up the Championship table.
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