Ireland’s manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, made a huge decision this week, in announcing his squad for the nation’s upcoming friendly match against Serbia in August, which excludes Ireland legends, Shay Given and Robbie Keane.
Accompanying the felled duo out of the national set-up are Richard Dunne – the hero of Ireland’s qualifying campaign – and Stephen Hunt. The experienced quartet’s exclusion from Trapattoni’s side could hint the start of a new era in Irish football, following a disastrous Euro 2012.
Having qualified for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine by beating Estonia 5-1 in a two-legged playoff, the Irish nation was buoyed by expectation, as Trapattoni led the team to their first major tournament in 10 years.
But a 3-1 loss to Croatia in their opening game set a trend that saw the country come home early with no points from three group games.
Trapattoni’s actions to exclude experienced heads show just how much work he needs to do to the squad, in preparation for World Cup 2014 qualification.
The team disappointed this summer, and now it’s time for a new generation to come in and blow away the mysticism that still surrounds the Irish camp from their wonderful 2002 World Cup experience.
Both Dunne and Keane showed their age against Spain and Italy and for them to continue playing to international standards by 2014 is a lot to ask. Instead, Trapattoni will look to the likes of Seamus Coleman and Keith Treacy to head a new Ireland pack no doubt desperate to right the wrongs in Poland.
Keane, Dunne, and Given may get another chance in the coming months to prove they are still up for selection, but Trapattoni’s move proves he is looking for a fresh start with new talent his top priority.
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