Giovanni Trappatoni has a problem. No it’s not that Robbie Keane is out. Neither is it that Shay Given’s no first team place could cost him on a national scale. It’s the emergence of youthful Irish hopefuls Seamus Coleman and Ciaran Clark. This season in the Premier League the duo have reminded fans that Ireland still has the ability to produce players like these, even if it hasn’t happened for quite some time.
Its been a long year for the two. Everton saw potential in Coleman as a Sligo Rovers player and paid what are his wages now, €25,000, for the Irishman. Clark had, however, progressed steadily through the Aston Villa academy and captained the u-18′s on their way to claiming the Premier League in 2007/08. However, with the duo finally finding their feet in the Prem it could only be a matter of time until they are handed starts for Ireland’s qualifying campaign.
So Trap has a problem. Ireland’s current left-back (Kevin Kilbane) has found himself engrossed in a League 1 promotion battle and his position is up for sale at Ireland. Ciaran Clark fills the void nicely. Clark made his debut in Ireland’s inaugural Carling Nations match against Wales and he went about his business very easily, with no problems incurred. Clark had, funnily enough, been playing for England’s u16-20′s setup prior to his desire to swap nations due to the perseverance of Ireland centre-back Richard Dunne, whose contributions been phenomenal for his nation over the years. This season Clark has featured in a large chunk of Aston Villa’s campaign and has also chipped in with some vital goals for the Villains most notably his injury time equalizer against Chelsea and his unlikely brace in Villa’s 4-2 defeat at Arsenal.
Now, over to Seamus Coleman. What are we going to do with him? Right-back by trade but playing right-mid this year has led to a handfuls of praise showered upon him. When Coleman was bought in 2009, he was seen as nothing more than a ‘youth player’. How many times have we heard that phrase over the years? Coleman, as I’ve previously stated, started life as a right-back but Everton manager David Moyes thought Coleman would foot the bill nicely at right-mid. What a revelation. Since the switch which was almost identical to Gareth Bale’s situation, Coleman has come on leaps and bounds from the player that he was just over a year ago, struggling to make the first team squad eventually going out on loan to Blackpool in their quest for a coveted Premier League spot. His help with Blackpool in acquiring Premier League promotion obviously went down well at Goodison Park, where he was rewarded with a hefty contract and a nice bump in his wage packet. But it’s unclear where Coleman will play. Ireland currently have Aiden McGeady/Liam Lawrence out on the right with John O’ Shea the prefered option in the right-back slot. Although O’Shea is versatile he could make way for Coleman as his exceptional performances must be credited with a performance on the national stage, whether it be on a friendly or a competitive match.
March 26th is Ireland’s next European qualifier as they host a Macedonia side who lie a lowly 5th in the overall standings. Giovanni Trappatoni will, most definitely have a dilemma on his hands by then and with the untimely injury to Robbie Keane it leaves a gap open up front which will most likely be filled by the in-form Shane Long or Stoke’s Johnathan Walters. One things for sure though, if we are to give competitive debuts to both Clark and Coleman they must avoid disappointment or they will become accustomed to criticism.