Sport Soccer

Saturday 18 November 2017

Polish curse: Players who want to forget Euro 2012

Kevin Foley
Kevin Foley
Keith Fahey
Stephen Ward
Shay Given
Darren Gibson
Keith Andrews

Garry Doyle

He was originally on the plane to Poland before Giovanni Trapattoni changed his mind, selected Paul McShane in his place and forced the Wolves defender to pack up his belongings and head home.


Since then, the emotional baggage of Trap's decision has weighed him down. Just two years ago, he was a Premier League defender. Now he is third -- sometimes even fourth -- choice at League One club Wolves, where he has made just seven appearances this season.


Like Foley, he was selected in Trap's original squad but never made it to Poland. But unlike Foley, injury not a manager's change of heart explains his absence. He made 10 appearances for Birmingham last season, but the injury never fully cleared. Now it has, but Euro 2012 was the start of a horrific year for the Dubliner.


Poland should have been the happiest moment of Ward's life. A patriot, he got to play all three games in the tournament, but was Trap's scapegoat for the three defeats.

The Italian never picked him again, and a second successive relegation at Wolves completed a miserable year.

His comeback is well and truly under way, however. He is back from international exile and his form on loan at Brighton has been impressive this season.


Arguably Ireland's best player in Poland, Andrews paid the price for battling through injury to make it onto the plane.

He managed 30 appearances for Bolton last year but they shipped him out on loan to Brighton this term and where he was then an Ireland regular, he is now ignored, having last played for his country against Greece 13 months ago.


He carried an injury into Poland and carried the responsibility for some of the goals while there. He retired from international football shortly afterwards -- but felt he had little choice.

Since then, he has had little action -- just 11 first-team games in 15 months. Currently on loan at Middlesbrough, he needs to get his future sorted.


Stung by how Trap ignored him in Poland, Gibson quit the Ireland scene shortly afterwards before returning once the Italian resigned.

Yet the curse of those Championships came back to haunt him as in his second game back in an Ireland shirt, he ruptured ligaments in his knee and will miss the majority of this season.


Irish Independent

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