Tuesday 22 August 2017

'Don't compare Austin Gleeson to an overpaid soccer player, would you stop'

Waterford's Austin Gleeson and (inset) Paul Pogba
Waterford's Austin Gleeson and (inset) Paul Pogba

Harry Clarke

He may have produced one moment of outrageous magic, but it was an afternoon to forget for Waterford star Austin Gleeson in their defeat to Cork on Sunday.

Last year's player of the year scooped the ball up with the tap of a hurl before scoring a memorable point in the first half against the Rebels but that was as good as it got and he was eventually replaced just after the hour mark following a subdued performance.

Gleeson's form has been patchy so far this season and speaking on this week's episode of The Throw In, Irish Independent columnist Brendan Cummins suggested Waterford boss Derek McGrath needs to play him at centre-forward consistently.

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Cummins' views were echoed by Donnchadh Boyle who added: "I think it was always going to be difficult for him, hurler of the year last year and the year he had.

"Obviously there is more and more video analysis than ever and teams are going to be concentrating on how to deal with him and how to limit his influence on the game so it is the difficult second album as they call it. It is always going to be hard for him.

He is 21 and asking him to go around and do that job where you have to go and impose yourself on the game without being given a particular job - it's a very hard thing to do."

The Throw In host Will Slattery added: "He reminds me a bit of Paul Pogba in the sense that there is so much talent but yet he kind of drifts in an out of games."

But this did not sit well with GAA purist Rory O'Connor from Rory's Stories.

"Don't reference Austin Gleeson to an overpaid soccer player, would you stop. £100million!"

Slattery continued: "They are such immense talents but they drift in and out of games and managers like Mourinho and McGrath who are so meticulous in everything else they do still don't seem to a have a place for them in their own systems."

Rory had calmed down somewhat by now and offered this response: "I think it comes down to the fact he is only 21 and no matter how good he is ability-wise, he still needs to learn.

"In the heat of battle in a Munster semi-final as Brendan said, you need to have a specific role. You need to put him centre forward and get him doing what he does best, catching ball and getting lads playing around him."

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