Sport Soccer

Monday 20 November 2017

Hunt slams critics of 'winning' style

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

STEPHEN HUNT believes that Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland side are less one-dimensional than Jack Charlton's Italia '90 heroes.

The Waterford man is miffed by persistent criticism of the team's style of play and, while he accepts that the Italian favours a direct approach, he is tired of comments from certain quarters.

"There is a bit of a myth that we are direct, but we're not as direct as what got us to World Cups years ago," he said. "When we qualified for World Cups, Packie Bonner used to grab the ball and boot it as far as he could. We have different players in the team now, smaller players. They (Estonia) were heads above us on Friday so we do play a bit of football.

"We're not Brazil and we're not going to turn into a team that plays like Spain. Nobody is, and Spain got beat playing like that against England. We are what we are. Positive. I really want to have a go at a few people but I won't because we have a massive game on Tuesday."

Hunt is frustrated by the suggestion that Ireland should go out in the second leg against Estonia tomorrow and abandon the principles that have brought them to the verge of qualification.

"We must finish the tie off, and that's not about doing it in style or throwing the shackles off -- that type of rubbish. It's about getting the job done and winning the game.

"It has got us to where we are now in terms of how we play. We are unbeaten for 10 games. What are we going to do? Open it up and get beaten 5-0? Let's keep the same mentality as the manager says."

Hunt wants Trapattoni to stay on for another two years, although he would also like the Italian to pick him ahead of Damien Duff and Aiden McGeady. He is determined to make a strong case by next summer, and it's another reason why the second leg matters if he gets a chance to be involved.

"I was frustrated with the last play-off, because I was only involved for seven minutes of the home game against France, and I think I had the most assists in the campaign so it was disappointing," he said.

"I know I can have an impact as sub, but to get into the starting XI is what I want to do."

The 30-year-old is conscious of the buzz in the country in the wake of the stunning win in Tallinn.

"You feel a sense of it now, and if we get the job done on Tuesday, we can look at people in the eye and say 'Do you know that? I played a part in getting to the Euros'. I can't wait for that. But we're not there yet," he said.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport