John Giles: Ireland are very, very ordinary without Wes Hoolahan but Martin O'Neill can't see it
I have to admit, I’m weary with this debate about Wes Hoolahan and annoyed that Martin O’Neill cannot see what is obvious to me and many others.
I have to admit, I’m weary with this debate about Wes Hoolahan and annoyed that Martin O’Neill cannot see what is obvious to me and many others.
I’VE said for many years that Ireland is blessed with an honesty and hunger in its footballers that is unusual and should be cherished.
ARSENE Wenger had a chance to walk away from Arsenal with his head held high, a winner again and his reputation intact but he could do it because he’s a fanatic.
THIS was the season when a good, knowledgeable football man with old school values won the Premier League and made an old pro like me...
I won’t miss Sam Allardyce.
NO frills and for once, no need for any excuses. Jose Mourinho’s big gamble paid off and now he’s bought himself some breathing space.
After events in the Manchester Arena on Monday evening, it is almost indecent to talk about Jose Mourinho and the Europa League final.
THE Premier League season draws to a close on Sunday but unlike other years, there is not a lot left to be decided and there won’t be much in the way of excitement.
It was sad to see White Hart Lane, a ground I loved to play in, crumble under the wrecking ball but I thought Spurs handled the day and marked the occasion with a touch of class.
John Terry is not everybody’s cup of tea but I have no hesitation in nominating him as one of the greats of English football and I mean all-time greats.
It's a great victory for football that N’Golo Kante has been acclaimed as the Player of the Season. Against the tide of fashion, a true midfield general is the top man.
This is usually the time of the year when Sam Allardyce climbs onto his soapboax in the middle of a relegation battle.
FOREIGN owners have a lot to answer for. Scattered across the divisions after a decade of...
EVERY time I hear Ray Winstone’s hardman voice encouraging me to bet, but bet sensibly, I have to laugh. If everyone did that, betting companies would go out of business.
Jose Mourinho could not have argued if Gabriel Jesus marked his comeback with a winning goal in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford.
When fate hands you a gift, it would be foolish to reject it and Jose Mourinho has fallen on his feet when it comes to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Jurgen Klopp is smart enough to understand the layers of irony which Cristian Benteke exposed at Anfield when he came back to haunt Liverpool.
I never, ever thought that one day, I would see the title Director of Football used in the same sentence with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.
My father used to say that with football managers “all their geese are swans”.
THERE are many out there who still believe that Leicester City’s players betrayed Claudio Ranieri and that every forward step in the Champions League simply underlines the notion.
NOT long after Jose Mourinho shocked everyone involved in football with his disgraceful verbal attack on Dr Eva Carneiro, the word which I felt best described his state of mind was “tormented”.
NO matter what way you add up the season to date, Antonio Conte has done a better job of management than Pep Guardiola.
As big derby looms, Everton boss reflecting his struggles back on any target he can find.
UNDER normal circumstances, the visit of Iceland would hardly be a game to set pulses racing.
So much has been made of Ireland’s injury list in the run up to this huge World Cup qualifier that you’d think Martin O’Neill was down to bare bones.
GARETH Bale has a bit to go before I would call him a great player. It seems to me that he needs to get away from Cristiano Ronaldo to make the final step.
THE Etihad will not be a place for faint hearts tomorrow for those who like their football nicely balanced between the art of defending and the joy of attack.
If you want to know the reason why Chelsea are looking good for a Premier League and FA Cup double and Jose Mourinho is crying in his soup, compare and contrast N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.
I was more than delighted to hear that the English FA has finally decided to bite the bullet and bring in touchline technology to help referees. It has been successful trialled in Germany and next season, we will see TMOs in action for Cup games.
Football is dripping with sentiment and it can be a terribly destructive thing and sometimes influences big decisions which should be made in a cold-hearted way.
About this time last year, Pep Guardiola announced that he was leaving Bayern Munich to manage Manchester City. Not surprisingly, Manuel Pellegrini wasn't a bit happy with that.
Sometimes in football, two wrongs actually do make a right.
THE hype around Wayne Rooney and China is over for now but it won’t go away. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he moved there in the summer.
THEY had to do it. It’s cruel. It’s sad and it’s shocking but it was inevitable that Leicester City would sack Claudio Ranieri.
There is now an overriding sense of sadness about Arsene Wenger among all those who love football. Alex Ferguson is the only great manager that I can remember to escape the certainty that all stellar careers in management end in failure.
IT’S sad to see Arsene Wenger as he is now a tormented soul, raging against failure but unable to anything about it. For such a great man of the game, it was, of course, all but inevitable that it would happen this way.
WHILE watching Jurgen Klopp struggle through the last six weeks, my mind wandered back to Brendan Rodgers and the Anfield transfer committee. They haven’t gone away you know.
Claudio Ranieri won a title last year because he had the sense not the meddle with what he found when he arrived. Now he’s trying his best to manage and that’s his big mistake
Pep Guardiola turned a corner this week.
THE best thing that happened for Antonio Conte last night was Watford doing him an unexpected favour by beating Arsenal at the Emirates.
LAST week I read what Marco van Basten had to say about the future of the game and his many suggestions about how football could be improved.
IT was all going so well at Newcastle but Rafa Benitez is showing the early signs of a man afflicted by a complaint many in his position have suffered from before. Meddling.
There is a delicious irony in the pursuit of Diego Costa and the response of many commentators in England who have been looking down their noses at Chinese money as if it is somehow less worthy than the Premier League’s.
FOR some time now, I’ve been watching Chelsea’s growing football loan business with growing interest.
FOR a number of years I’ve been worried and angry about the emasculation of the FA Cup and predicted that eventually, the competition would be diluted almost to irrelevance. We’re nearly there now.
Now we have a real title race to get our teeth into. Take any one of six with Chelsea still the racing favourites.
Pep Guardiola has rewritten the rule book on what it is to be a great football manager. He is an independent thinker who wants to control every element of his career.
It had to catch up with Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins eventually.
Bryan Robson is long enough in the game to know that winners write the history books and at a club like Manchester United, selective amnesia is in force when it comes to David Moyes.
These are precious days for football managers. Snatched between intense periods in the schedule, it is a time to take stock and give key men a rest.
Football is a rolling examination of the character and ability of managers and players. On Tuesday night, Arsene Wenger’s team was set a test by Everton and they flunked it.
Pep Guardiola is at a crossroads and the decisions he makes in the next few weeks and months will define his time as Manchester City boss.
HE is a fascinating man with a singular vision of how the game should be played but I would be driven to distraction if I was a player working under Jurgen Klopp.
It's a big surprise to me that Ronald Koeman is struggling so much at Goodison Park. I expected a lot more from Everton this season.
If I was a parent of a child with a gift for football in Ireland, I would be looking at events in England surrounding Barry Bennell with horror and deep concern.
For a man who prides himself on deal-making in the transfer market, Daniel Levy is on the brink of making the biggest mistake of his life with Harry Kane.
ALEX Ferguson was once asked about his methodology when it came to buying a player at Manchester United. He always made a point of taking a look at pictures of the lad’s parents and he explained this by using two examples – Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.
I have an awful lot of time for Seamus Coleman but I have to take issue with something he said after Ireland's great win in Vienna.
THE last time Ireland beat Austria was in 1963 at Dalymount Park and I was there. But it was a 0-0 draw in Vienna a few weeks earlier came to be known as the ‘Miracle Match’.
When Alex Ferguson took a shoe to David Beckham and then issued a public dressing down after he missed training to go shopping, he had plenty of justification for his actions.
The League Cup is a great ready reckoner to assess the level of desperation being experienced by a manager at any given moment in the season.
Antonio Conte and Chelsea made a statement against Manchester United which should make Roman Abramovich and the fans very happy indeed.
PEP Guardiola thinks he has discovered something in football which everyone else has missed but he’s wrong. What he’s doing is all about pride.
Ruthless men seldom want to advertise that fact. It tends to dilute the impact if you have to tell someone that you take no prisoners.
IT is an enduring mystery to me that Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane, two of the finest midfielders to play the game and certainly, two of the best the island of Ireland has produced, cannot see what is so obvious.
Well one thing is certain after yesterday’s action in Group D. There is no big team in Ireland’s way.
I’VE been watching Dundalk’s progress in the Europa Cup with great interest and the quiet satisfaction that comes from seeing a football team organised in such an excellent way.
DON’T hold your breath if you think that Sam Allardyce’s sacking is going to lead to a top to bottom reassessment of how agents and the transfer market works. It will never change.
AT the very least, Sam Allardyce has caused huge embarrassment to the English FA. At the very worst, he did enough to be sacked.
Class is not a requirement to be a great football manager but it certainly lifts the spirits when I see someone in the game showing grace under pressure.
Jose Mourinho has never been a great man to hand around praise when success comes his way but he has no problem spreading the blame when things go wrong.
JOSE Mourinho was very clear about Paul Pogba, his £100m man. He was buying the best all-round midfielder in the world and he would be the man to run the show for Manchester United.
AN early report card on the two teams in Manchester makes positive reading for both Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
MARTIN O’Neill thought that Ireland were magnificent to come away from Belgrade with a point. I didn’t. In fact, I would say the opposite.
ANY Ireland fans worried about the fact that the start of the Premier League season happened with just a handful of our best players involved should not be concerned.
Across training grounds the length and breadth of England on Monday, managers had to make some adjustments, long overdue adjustments.
EURO 2016 has been the tournament of the underdog, good management and bitter humiliation for our nearest neighbours, but I’m still waiting to see a great team.
Truly awful management and headless, gutless players. That's the unhealthy combination which led to England's humiliating exit from Euro 2016.
As long as I’ve been involved in football, the default setting for almost every Irish player I’ve ever known has been rooted in personal commitment.
IT’S never good when you’re looking to another team in big tournament football for a dig out. That’s where Ireland are now with Italy in Lille in a few days time.
MARTIN O’Neill’s decision to sign a new two-year deal is good for Ireland’s Euro 2016 finals hopes because it brings some stability which I think was missing.
Manchester United are a disgrace. I can think of no other word which does justice to the depth of feeling I have about the way this club has behaved in the last few years.
SHANE Long is now one of the best strikers in the Premier League and it would be no surprise at all if he is one of the big transfer stories in the coming weeks and months.
It's not often I have to put my hand up and say that something in football has me baffled but on the subject of Louis van Gaal, I admit to being confused and it's not the first time I've said that.
ANYONE who watched Leicester and West Ham manhandle each other for 90 minutes must have wondered how the game has come to this.
Andy Carroll has not played much football over the last three years but he scored a hat-trick at the weekend and for some, that was enough to make him a potential hero for England.
Roy Hodgson is backing Jack Wilshere. I woke up yesterday morning to read that headline and I nearly choked on my toast.
Gary Neville now has his own chapter in football’s book of bad ideas. His is a cautionary tale of the boy who thought he could have it all and fell flat on his face.
MARTIN O’Neill has not agreed or signed a new deal with the FAI and personally, I can't see why there should be any fuss about that.
I’ll bet a lot of money that everyone thought that the collapse by Leicester City’s title rivals was the most significant news item in the Premier League this week. It wasn’t.
It's almost a cliché now for Arsenal to fall apart in February. Optimism and real belief have once again been replaced by disappointment and Arsene Wenger must take the blame.
The debate about Lionel Messi’s place in the history of the game and whether he is the greatest player that has ever lived is now in full flow, and rightly so.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has done us all a favour. He wants to get a Premier League stamp on his CV before he heads off to the sunshine and has offered himself to the highest bidder.
Pep Guardiola's decision to pick Manchester City as the vehicle for his Premier League ambitions has confirmed one thing for me.
Over the years I've heard many excuses from managers used to explain poor results or bad form but Jürgen Klopp topped the lot a few days back when, of all things, he blamed the wind.
Tortured, betrayed, isolated and finally, sacked. Call it mutual consent, call it what you like but from about two weeks into this season, I could see only one end to this. My mistake was to think that Mourinho might walk.
I’m sure Jurgen Klopp had something on his mind when he dragged very reluctant Liverpool players into the middle of the pitch at Anfield to celebrate a draw against West Brom.
Roy Keane had good reason to smile after Ireland's success against Bosnia. He's back in the game and back on the agenda for football club owners in England and beyond.
Ireland will definitely be going into Monday's game the favourite side, based on that performance last night.
Without any of the headlines Tottenham Hotspur usually generate at this time of the year, Mauricio Pochettino is making progress. No giant leap but definitely progress.
If any man wanted to be sacked from a job as manager of one of the biggest clubs in the world, he would behave precisely in the way Jose Mourinho has been behaving for the last three months.
When Leeds first fell off the cliff and fans woke up one morning in what used to be the English Third Division, I don't think any of them believed that things could get worse. Unfortunately, I think there is still depth to go before we hit bottom.
He's a conundrum, Louis van Gaal. Manchester United are top of the Premier League but I'm not sure how they got there or how he's going to keep them there.
I'm not sure how long it will take or the circumstances which will ultimately lead to his exit from Anfield but the tide is running in only one direction. Brendan Rodgers has lost his fight.
STEVEN Gerrard breezed into town last week for a bit of book promotion and an earner with BT Sport before heading back to his $6m a season job in LA.
Wayne Rooney doesn't come close to Bobby Charlton in the history of English football. He equalled his goal scoring record this week but that's about all they have in common.
For those of us who analyse football, the Pedro transfer saga is a gift. On one side, Jose Mourinho who got a player he didn't want and on the other Louis van Gaal who didn't get the man he most definitely wanted.
Just two weeks into the new season and a couple of things have become clear. Manchester City have prepared better than anyone else and the Premier League is a bigger circus than ever.
What is really bugging José Mourinho? Why would an intelligent but unqualified man trample all over the reputation of a medical professional doing her job by telling the world that he knew best and that she knew nothing?
After a build-up promising epic encounters and an extravaganza of football, the opening weekend was a damp-squib. Unfortunately the most notable action happened in front of microphones and in television studios
THESE are very important times for football in this country. Ireland's draw with Scotland has kicked off a debate which is long overdue and is centres around one question. Is our talent pool in decline and if it is, why?
John Giles praised Ireland's fighting spirit in the 1-1 draw with Scotland but admits the chances of Irish qualification for Euro 2016 are now slim.
This is the time for leadership and good management. Anything less than a win against Scotland will place Ireland in a very difficult position and it is in these circumstances that the best managers do their best work.