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I could have helped team at Italia '90 but I've no grudge with Jack: Brady


CRUEL BLOW: Jack Charlton ushers Liam Brady off after his red card against Bulgaria in 1987.

CRUEL BLOW: Jack Charlton ushers Liam Brady off after his red card against Bulgaria in 1987.

CRUEL BLOW: Jack Charlton ushers Liam Brady off after his red card against Bulgaria in 1987.

Liam Brady has opened a door on the nostalgia for Italia '90 by claiming that he could have contributed to the Irish effort at the finals.

Regarded as one of the Republic's best-ever players, Brady never got to play in a finals tournament at international level as he was at first suspended, and then injured, for Euro '88.

And Jack Charlton had called time on his international career in the lead-up to the 1990 World Cup, Brady supplanted by the arrival of Andy Townsend.

His final international appearance was his testimonial, a friendly at home to Finland in May 1990, the last home match Ireland played in the build-up to the finals.

Speaking to Today FM, Brady said he held no bitterness towards manager Charlton but was sure he could have added to the effort in 1990.

"I comfort myself with being in the team that qualified, the team that broke the mould, became the first team to qualify for a major championships," Brady said.

"Between 1986 and 1988 we had maybe ten games in our group and I played in every game (Ireland actually played eight group games but Brady was an ever-present).

"Unfortunately in the last game (Bulgaria at home) I got sent off, I got a four-match ban and that ruled me out of the Euros.

"We appealed the ban, it was reduced to two games and Jack said I was still coming (to Germany) so I was delighted with that, but a couple of months later I snapped by cruciate ligament playing for West Ham and that was the end of that.

"When we qualified in 1990 the team had moved on, I was surplus to requirements, Jack had lads in midfield who could get up and down the pitch, like Andy Townsend and Ronnie Whelan and maybe my style had had its time.

"He took his side to Italy and we did brilliantly but I had started punditry for the BBC, one door opened as another one closed," he added.

"Me and Jack got on, we always had a laugh together, I have no animosity towards him at all, my time had gone and moved on, that's what happens in football.

"If I had a different type of manager who believed in another type of football I could have been in that 1990 World Cup squad but he wasn't that way inclined. He wanted the ball to go from back to front as quickly as possible, put defences under pressure so they'd make a mistake, rather than trying creative football.

"So that's why I didn't go.

"It's a pity really as I had waited so long, I started in 1974, and this was 1990, so I had the best part of 16 years with the Irish team and to just miss out was a shame."

Brady also said that Stephen Kenny has to be given time to put his own stamp on the Irish senior team and should not be judged harshly if the side fail to achieve qualification for Euro 2020.

"I felt a bit sorry for Mick McCarthy. I felt he did a decent job and he wasn't out of qualification, he still could have qualified, but the FAI were in a bit of a dilemma, between a rock and a hard place, and they came down on the side of honouring Stephen Kenny's contract," Brady said.

"Stephen has done his work, he's been an excellent manager at Dundalk for many a year and he had a good season with the U21s, it will be interesting but I wouldn't hold it against him if he doesn't qualify, it's a big ask to expect a new manager to come in and get the job done.

"We have games coming up in October/November, they might be behind closed doors which could suit us."

Brady also said he's keen to see if Kenny can change the way Ireland play. "We have had some very good managers, we had Trapattoni and Martin O'Neill, but they didn't really believe that we could do it (play a passing game).

"I think things did improve under Mick, we were trying to play out from the back, but Stephen is adamant that's the way it will be done.

"The question is whether we have the players at the back or in midfield who can handle that instruction, those tactics, to play it out."