Sport Soccer

Thursday 23 November 2017

King leaves ball in Brady's court over Ireland return

John Fallon

IRELAND U-21 boss Noel King insists that the international future of Robbie Brady rests on the talented Manchester United winger making contact with him.

Brady, likely to play tonight for Hull -- where he is on loan for a season -- against Liverpool in a pre-season friendly, was captain and top scorer as Ireland qualified for the closing stages of the U-19 European Championship.

But he was left out of the squad for the finals after a breakdown in communications with manager Paul Doolin.

The problems began when United refused permission for Brady to travel to Poland for the elite phase of the qualifiers in May on the basis that he was in line to make his first-team debut in the final Premier League game of the season.

Doolin claims that Brady then failed to reply to several messages seeking clarification over his absence and it is understood that FAI high performance director Wim Koevermans also tried in vain to contact the Dubliner.

The fallout resulted in Brady being axed from the squad for the finals.


Brady steps up to U-21 level next month, so it's down to King to decide whether the teenager has an international future in the short term -- Ireland play Austria in a friendly in Sligo on August 8.

King is adamant that the onus is on Brady to show his commitment. "You call a taxi and it doesn't come -- do you wait, wait and wait or do you call another taxi?" said King yesterday in Bucharest, where he is assessing the players he'll inherit from Doolin.

"If you ring someone, you expect a call back. If you don't, you might ring again because there could be trouble there.

"You give people the benefit of the doubt. But if they don't ring you back, it's not acceptable to anybody. It's not acceptable to the FAI and isn't acceptable to an U-12 team.

"He (Brady) has been punished. He's not here -- he's missed the finals. Sometimes people think it's the manager's fault, but I don't think any manager is at fault if a fella doesn't ring you back.

"The manager has to make a decision. There is no way I would go against what Paul (Doolin) has done."

For all that, King left the door open for Brady to return to the fold. "There is always balance and compromise," he said. "I'm a father of five. You see all these things as people grow and teenagers develop.

"Whether it's because of money, insecurity, personal problems or whatever, people have to grow up and become the person they are going to be.

"If you are going to keep hitting people with a hammer because they are growing, that might be a bit of a problem. But certainly they might need a little bit of discipline now and again."

Irish Independent

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