Friday, 25 May 2012
McLean our secret weapen?
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.