After watching Ireland demolish Gibraltar this weekend, thanks in main to another man of the match performance from Robbie Keane, it reminded me of a post I wrote from November 14th, 2011. Almost 3 full years later, it seems even more relevant now than it did back under the Giovanni Trapattoni era - when a lot was been said about removing Robbie from the starting 11. Some even called for him to retire altogether. I could easily have written the exact piece this week with a few minor detail changes.
Do us all a favour Robbie - Retire from international football, effective immediately.
Thanks for everything Robbie.
You’ve done your best.
You really have.
But being honest - it just wasn’t quite good enough.
Now don’t you think it’s time you did us Irish a favour and retired from international football?
Preferably before the European Championships.
Preferably before Tuesday’s return leg against Estonia.
Let’s just say your performance in the first leg was the final straw.
Quite simply, you were muck.
I know you got 2 goals in an important match.
But 1 was a peno in fairness...
I know you set up Jon Walters with a brilliant cross.
As well as playing Stephen Hunt through to win the peno.
And you were also the player who drew the 2 fouls which saw 2 Estonians sent off.
But to be honest Robbie, I’m looking for more from an Irish striker these days than 2 goals, 1 and a half assists and getting 2 players sent off through your quickness of thought and speed of movement.
I want to see more to strikers in general than just goals and assists actually.
People will argue that you have 53 international goals.
More than Shearer, Owen, Lineker, Keegan or Charlton.
More than Rush, Hughes, Dalglish, Law or Best.
In fact, more than any British player.
Even though most of them were playing for far superior teams than you at the time.
But I always just felt your goals came against lesser nations.
And while Ireland never had a player good enough to score against the lesser nations until you came along, it’s the big games that count.
Like a Play-Off for a major tournament.
People will say you played in 4 Play-Offs and scored in 4 Play-Offs.
But I see the fact that you only scored 5 goals from those 6 games as being the reason we didn’t qualify from more of them.
I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself that you scored 3 goals (plus 1 more in the shoot-out) in the World Cup in 2002 and they were big games.
But one of those was against Saudi Arabia.
I don’t even know where that is Robbie.
I’ll give you the goals against Germany and Spain.
You deserve some credit.
But that still doesn’t change the fact that you are only really capable of scoring at home.
Away games against Holland, Italy and France excluded of course.
Or that cracker you got against Holland when we won 1-0.
Cause that was only a friendly.
But now it’s time for change.
Kevin Doyle is a much better player anyway.
He is 28 now and although Mick McCarthy is the only manager to spend proper money on him, it was €7.5m well spent.
Unlike yourself, who has had Gordon Strachan, Marcello Lippi, Dave O’Leary, Glenn Hoddle, Rafa Benitez and Harry Redknapp spend over €90m on you.
Kevin could get a move to someone like Internazionale, it’s just Wolves won’t sell him, that’s all.
Then there’s Shane Long as well.
23 goals in the Championship and West Bromwich Albion immediately threw €5.2m at Reading for him.
Yes Robbie, West Bromwich Albion.
And now we also have Leon Best.
He’s scored in 2 separate games in the Premier League this season.
He must start.
Along with Jon Walters.
He is also 28 and despite the fact that when you were 28 you had 33 internationals to your name, this guy has scored 3 goals in the Premier League this season.
3 goals Robbie.
He has to start ahead of you.
So, I appreciate your commitment and loyalty to the Irish side over the past 14 seasons but really, we’re not looking for someone who will turn up for every game and give 100% commitment no matter what.
You have given more to this country on the football pitch than anyone could ever ask of a player and have never once complained - but it’s time to move on now Robbie.
So all the Irish supporters who aren’t ‘fans’ of yours can experience what it’s going to be like when we’re well and truly fucked without you...
Monday, 13 October 2014
Monday, 6 October 2014
Man of the match.
Non existent in the match.
The two sides of Danny Welbeck beautifully illustrated in the space of 4 days.
From the moment Danny joined Arsenal we have seen his career perform like a heart monitor.
Shot up after his two goal salvo for England against Switzerland.
Straight back down for his debut miss at Manchester City.
A hat trick in the Champions League.
Then absolutely nothing during the game with Chelsea.
Never more beautifully did he illustrate how he is such a class player - just not a world class player.
Danny can produce brilliantly like against Galatasary on Wednesday when he became only the sixth Englishman to score a Champions League hat-trick.
Then get completely nullified four days later on Sunday when he played against a top quality side.
Just like last month when he scored against last season’s fifteenth placed Aston Villa.
And was then completely shut-out when he played the champions Manchester City.
A lot has been said of one of the most surprising deals of transfer deadline day in recent weeks.
Mainly from Arsenal fans.
Who reacted on twitter with many feelings - bewilderment included.
Their team had just spent £16m on a player who often attracted derision from fans outside of the Old Trafford.
Derision from fans inside at times too.
They needed a striker, badly.
With Arsene Wenger off refereeing a charity match in Rome, the Gunners faithful feared the worse with just hours to go before the window closed.
No mention of a striker for weeks until suddenly Danny Welbeck’s name cropped up.
He was a striker alright.
Just not a very good one.
Or at least that’s what they had thought.
His record suggested he wasn’t what their team needed.
Games for Manchester United - 142.
Goals for Manchester United - 29.
Hardly figures to set even the most optimistic of supporter’s imagination alight.
The reaction of Manchester United’s fans suggested otherwise.
Respected pundits such as Gary Neville questioned the sale.
Paul Scholes, Dwight Yorke, David Beckham too.
Even Mike Phelan, Sir Alex Ferguson’s right hand man came out against the decision of Louis Van Gaal.
A decision make entirely by Louis Van Gaal.
For Louis Van Gaal.
And for Manchester United.
Louis has come in to this massive club and now needs to stamp his authority.
He will have looked at the reactions of said former players and known every one of them came from the Sir Alex Ferguson school of thought.
And under the great Scotsman, Danny would not have been sold.
At least not yet.
But life is different now and Louis is not cut from the same cloth.
He has no sentimentality towards players who came through the ranks at the club having been there since the age of 10.
He is a lot more black and white than that.
He will have seen the stat of 29 goals in 142 games.
The problem for Danny is he will have looked at the stat of 155 goals in 200 games as well.
Radamel Falcao’s return since he came to Europe is astonishing.
He hasn’t stopped scoring since he arrived on the continent.
Lighting up the teams of Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco.
Costing the French side £51m last summer.
A return of 35 goals in his 41 games in European competition.
His two seasons in Europe’s best league saw a return of 24 and 28 league goals.
36 and 34 overall.
In every season he played in Europe bar the one season not finished due to his cruciate ligament injury, he has scored more goals than Danny has scored in his 6 years at Manchester United in total.
34, 38, 36, 34.
Compared to an overall of 29.
Danny is just not in the same league.
Not even close.
Excuses can be made of how Danny has been forced to play out wide in far too many games before.
He has craved this central role that he will get at Arsenal.
But Falcao wasn’t played out wide to accommodate Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid.
The same Diego Costa who would go on to score 36 goals the following season.
That’s not what managers do with world class players.
They do that with players like Danny Welbeck.
They even sell players like Danny for sums as paltry as £16m.
A great price for Arsenal to pay.
A price that got them a great striker.
Just not one as good as Falcao...