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John Giles: Trap should trust youth

IF it was my job to pick an Irish team, I would have no hesitation in placing my trust in youth. It has worked for Ireland in the past.

Giovanni Trapattoni made it very clear that he would not stray from his script and give young lads like James McCarthy and Seamus Coleman a chance against Macedonia early in the week.

Even if I don't agree with him, Trapattoni is the man making the decisions and I understand why he chooses a different path.

Everything Trapattoni does is rooted in the plan he has put in place for this group of players. He has spent the last three years drilling home his message.

Along the way, when he found players like Keith Andrews and Sean St Ledger, he had no hesitation in promoting them rapidly.

They fitted his vision of the way he wanted Ireland to play and once he was happy that they had a certain level of ability, he didn't blink. Coleman is different simply because he doesn't fit into Trapattoni's way of thinking and he hasn't had enough time with the lad to trust him to play by the rules.

There is an argument that Trapattoni should have had Coleman in the squad for at least a year before he did but that's not relevant to this debate. We must deal with things as we find them.

The fact is that Coleman is a player who does his best work on the front foot. He takes risks going forward which, for me, make him the exciting prospect that he is.

But for Trapattoni, the nature of the game is to reduce risk. He has said he could play him on the right side of midfield and, in that case, his instinct to attack becomes a virtue.

But Trapattoni has a long list of options for both of the wide positions, players he has done the work with and who understand what he wants.

So that's why he will leave Coleman on the long-finger. For him, it's the logical and practical step to take.

I'm sure Trapattoni rates Coleman as highly as David Moyes and the many others do but until he is properly programmed to respond to the system, he will have a peripheral role.


Trapattoni dealt with this issue early in the week and gave Kevin Foley plenty of time to come to terms with the fact that he will be involved in an important Euro 2012 qualifier, which was the right thing to do.

He gave Ciaran Clark a spin in training beside Richard Dunne just in case Sean St Ledger doesn't make it and I don't see any paradox in Trapattoni picking Clark but not Coleman.

Again, Clark has passed the and James Collins (Shrewsbury) before Wednesday's flight to Portugal. Niall Canavan (Scunthorpe), Ronan Murray (Torquay) and Aaron Doran (Inverness) were all drafted in and King, who handed U21 debuts to 10 players in last month's draw away to Cyprus, will introduce some more new faces in this evening's game.


“We have brought Niall Canavan in from Scunthorpe and we'll have a look at him,” says King.

“He's English-born but has had an Irish passport for some time. He was involved with the underage squads a few years ago but went off the radar and now he's back with us again.

“He's had a bit of experience in the first team with Scunthorpe but he's been out with an injury so he needs games, and this game tomorrow is a chance for him to play.”

King can call on experienced players like Richie Towell (Hibs), Rob Kiernan (Watford) and Gavin Gunning (Motherwell) in his back four with Ipswich keeper Ian McLoughlin – currently impressing on loan at Stockport County – also in line for a start, but the midfield lacks experience as Henderson and Barton are set to win their first U21 caps while Bolton's Mark Connolly plays for the second time at this level.

Trapattoni test of suitability and he trusts him to follow orders. The fact that he plays with Dunne at Aston Villa is also a big factor. There has been some suggestion of resistance among the players to Trapattoni and his system but I wouldn't pay too much attention to that.


Players will always find something to give out about and if Ireland beat Macedonia tomorrow, as I fully expect them to do, we won't be hearing too much about formations.

I disagree fundamentally with some of the things Trapattoni has been doing and I would cite names like Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton and Dave O'Leary as examples of players who were thrown in at the deep end and relished the experience.

I would play Coleman, Clark and James McCarthy in any game – competitive or not. Why not? These lads have been doing it week in, week out in the Premier League and I don't think there is as big a difference between that and international football. It's an old cliche but still a good one.

If you're good enough, you're old enough.