Friday, 25 May 2012

McLean our secret weapen?

James McLean has been given the nod by Giovanni Trapattoni to start tomorrow's friendly against Bosnia. The young 23 year old Derry native will be hoping he can impress the manager enough to stake a claim for a starting place when Ireland's Euro adventure kicks off on Sunday 10 June in Poznan. My guess is that most fans would probably prefer to see him start ahead of Trap's current first choice left winger Aiden McGeady, although knowing Trap (for the record we go way back!), the safety first mantra of experience over excitement will probably win out.

So what if McLean scored a hat-trick against Bosnia? Would that be enough to make the starting X1... It's hard to know. But what is clear is that his form under Martin O'Neill at Sunderland was so consistently at a high level last year that Trap went from talking about him as a player for the future, to saying that he was 90% certain to be named in Ireland's Euro squad. That is a significant turn around from a man who usually doesn't change his mind too quickly. Trap has gone further by saying that he could be an important player for Ireland in the 2nd game against Spain and maybe even 3rd game against Italy, suggesting that a start against one of these giants may indeed be possible.

There is no doubting McLean's stake for a place in the team  is gathering momentum. Not only is he foremost in Trap's thoughts but he is possibly the only player in our squad who can excite the crowd, by doing something unorthodox and being unpredictable. Stephen Hunt used to have this honour,  but comparing these two is like comparing a Bentley to a broken down Cinquecento with no windows. Who can forget the roar of the crowd at Landsdowne Road (yes Landsdowne Road) when he came on the pitch for the last 12 minutes in the friendly against the Czech Republic back in February. A new hero was born.

For tomorrow's game I hope that McLean plays a disciplined role, obeying Trap's instructions and tracking back to help the defence when needs be. I hope he keeps it simple with short crisp passes and doesn't give the ball away too much like the rest of the lads on the team. Throw in a few direct runs down the line and one or two decent crosses for Doyle and Keane and he should keep the main man happy. Once Trap is happy McLean will have a role to play. Imagine the scenario where we are a goal down with 20-30 minutes to go against Croatia, Spain or Italy, my gut feeling is that no matter how well he plays tomorrow, only then will our secret weapon be given his chance to shine.


  1. Come on d roylers ha ha rock on Sunday

  2. There is no doubt he is a very good player, but his position on the left may limit his potential impact, particualrly if the rest of the team are serving up their usual fare.
    He will have to track back more and be far more responsible...I have concerns though that even if he does beat his man and go to whip a cross Whelan and Andrews will be arguing over who's turn it is to cross the halfway line.
    Also, I don't like his tattoos, or undrstand a word he says.

    1. I reckon he's nicely poised now to get some game time as our third choice winger. I'm also sure he will make an impact of some sort. Sorry for the late reply but the whole best man duties took precedence for a few days there!