Posts Tagged ‘Trapattoni|World Cup|FAI|Premier League|soccer’

He may be a wanted man by Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni, but if Jamie O'Hara isn't too bothered about playing for Ireland why bother trying so hard to recruit him?

The all-action midfielder, who is currently on loan at Portsmouth, recently declared that his primary target is to break into the England squad for this summer's World Cup. If that doesn't happen, then he may consider declaring for Ireland.

Who does he think he is, Stephen Ireland? Either he wants to represent the homeland of his grandparents or he doesn't - it is that simple. The Irish coaching staff and the FAI should not even think of begging him to link up with Trapattoni's squad.

Not only is he a player that Ireland can easily do without, it is never a good sign when a player needs to be convinced to play for a team. To suggest that he is using Ireland as a fall-back option is disrespectful to the Irish fans and the Irish players that would jump at the chance of lining out for their country.

This blog doesn't think that the chase to bring O'Hara in is worthwhile. In fact, we see more reasons to abandon the pursuit than to carry on with it. He simple isn't worth all of the hassle.

Still searching for his best position

One should always be sceptical about players who struggle to nail down one specific position. While it is good that someone like John O'Shea can play in a variety of different roles, a player should always have one position that defines the way they play. O'Hara is still on the look-out for his.

The 23-year-old is not yet the finished product and will surely develop into a better player, although he has yet to inspire confidence in his manager's that he is ideal for one particular position. To date, he has normally been deployed on the left-side of central midfield or as a make-shift left winger.

While he works hard when playing in both roles, he does not dominate them. When operating as a winger he lacks the pace, ability to drag a full-back out wide and trickery needed to excel there. When playing in central midfield, he often gets caught ball watching, struggles to link play from defence to attack, fails to make his presence felt against bigger, stronger opponents and cannot control the tempo of a game.

Perhaps this is a harsh observation of a player who has been afforded few opportunities at Tottenham Hotspur and is currently playing for a team stuck to the foot of the Premier League table. But this is someone who Trapattoni believes would go straight into his team, according to some reports anyway.

Would he displace either Glenn Whelan or Keith Andrews in central midfield? Nope. Would he be ahead of Damien Duff, Stephen Hunt or Aiden McGeady for the left wing? No chance. Then where would he fit in?

Better alternatives are out there

O'Hara has played his best football when Portsmouth have given him a free role within a five-man midfield. There is no problem with that as long as he is producing some end product. With one goal and four assists in over 20 league starts this season, the jury is still out on that one.

If Trapattoni was to change his system to a 4-5-1 formation, for example, then surely Wigan Athletic's James McCarthy would be ahead of O'Hara in the pecking order to fill that roaming midfield position. Other candidates would include Duff, Steven Reid and even Andy Reid.

Maybe the Ireland boss sees him as someone who offers something a little bit different in midfield and has a left foot too. But what about Owen Garvan (Ipswich Town) and Stephen Quinn (Sheffield United)? At least they want to play for Ireland.

There is no doubting that O'Hara is a decent player and will surely improve over the coming years, but is he worth all of the hassle in trying to recruit him? No. Are there Irish players out there that are better than him? Yes.

Shouldn't that be the end of this debate? Probably not as the speculation will more than likely continue right up to when the Euro 2012 qualifiers roll around in September.

But hopefully by then this situation will be sorted out and Trapattoni will only be picking players that have a desire to play for Ireland.
Read the rest of this entry »