Coleman helps Ireland get back on track
Seamus Coleman drew praise from Giovanni Trapattoni for his performance as the Republic of Ireland got their World Cup dreams back on track with a comprehensive 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands in Torshavn on Tuesday.
The Killybegs native lined out at right-back and was comfortable on the ball throughout as he linked well with Manchester United’s Robbie Brady in the first half and Aiden McGeady in the second 45 minutes.
With the score 0-0 at the interval, Ireland improved after the break to seal their second win of the campaign, following the narrow 2-1 victory in Astana against Kazakhstan last month.
Marc Wilson’s first international goal gave the Irish the lead against a Faroe Islands team ranked 158th in the world just after half-time and when Jon Walters struck in 53 minutes the points looked safe.
There was a brief panic after Faroes substitute Arnbjorn Hansen reduced the deficit on 68 minutes but Pol Justinussen’s own goal and a late header from former-Celtic defender Darren O’Dea sealed the win.
Coleman, left-back Wilson and central midfielder James McCarthy, who was the RTE man of the match, were the stand-out players in the win.
Ironically, all three players have been on a periphery for the most part of under-fire Trapattoni’s tenure in charge, which reached a low point on Friday night last as Germany won 6-1 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
“I said I was confident of a positive reaction from this team after the Germany game and this is what we got,” Trapattoni said. “We saw it in the training sessions before the game and I am happy for the young players James McCarthy, Marc Wilson and Seamus Coleman.”
Speculation has been rife over the future of the Italian following the catastrophe against Germany and Ireland’s limp performance in Poland at Euro 2012, where the lost to Croatia, Spain and Italy. However, Trapattoni remains insistent his will continue as manager.
“This is my job,” he said. “I say always I am proud to be the manager of this team with these players, but this is not my decision,” he continued as reporters asked him about rumours of an FAI meeting being called for later this week to discuss his position.
“I know there is still speculation about my future, but I don’t worry about this. I am prepared to win the next game. We have in November another game. This is my focus.”
Trapattoni cancelled the traditional post-match press conference in Dublin yesterday but later stated he had to travel straight back to Italy as his sister was unwell in hospital.
Mick McCarthy, who managed Ireland from 1996 to 2002, former Spurs chief Harry Redknapp, current Norwich City boss Chris Hughton and Owen Coyle, who was sacked from Championship outfit Bolton Wanderers last week, are rumoured to be in the frame.
Trapattoni has a year remaining on his contract and the cost of removing the 73-year-old, his assistant Marco Tardelli and fitness coach Fausto Rossi would exceed E1.7m if the trio looked for the full value of their deals, in the event of being sacked.
Ireland may not be able to offer a similar salary to any successor if businessman Denis O’Brien, who part funds the Italians’ wages, withdraws his support.
Ireland currently lie third in Group C with six points from three games, a point behind Sweden and four points behind group leaders Germany, who played out a remarkable 4-4 draw in Berlin on Tuesday night, with the Swedes pulling back from four goals down with 30 minutes remaining.
Ireland’s next two outings are international friendlies. They welcome Greece to Dublin next month and Poland visit the Aviva in February.
The World Cup qualifying campaign then continues with a double-header of fixtures in March, when Ireland must travel to Stockholm to take on Sweden and then have a home fixture against Austria.
For his part, Coleman has returned to Merseyside having won his seventh cap this week. Everton, who are in fourth place in the Premier League with 14 points from seven games, take on Queen’s Park Rangers on Sunday afternoon.
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