independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Fresh faces need more time to grow

Ireland 0
Greece 1

THE fifth defeat out of eight games during a disappointing year for Ireland, but there were more positives to take from this than any of the others.

Glenn Whelan had suggested earlier in the week that Giovanni Trapattoni would come under pressure again in the event of a loss, yet the biggest criticism you could make of the Italian is a familiar old chestnut: why did it take him so long to instigate the changes that give supporters a few reasons to be optimistic about 2013?

The brightest spark here, Seamus Coleman, watched Euro 2012 from a bar in Donegal, and Wes Hoolahan, a half-time introduction, should have been integrated long before this fixture.

We can only hope that when the manager has all his options available, there will be room for their invention.

After all, the masterclass from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Sweden demonstrated the quality that Ireland will face in March. The intensity of that qualifier will be a couple of notches up from a typically stop-start November friendly.

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