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‘A pub player’ – Thoughts from the fans who watch Ireland’s footballers every week

How John O’Shea and co are getting on at their clubs.

The Ireland team pose for a photo ahead of their recent friendly with Poland.
The Ireland team pose for a photo ahead of their recent friendly with Poland.

IF YOU ASK the average Irish football supporter their opinion of Paul Green, they are likely to say with the utmost level of conviction that he is “absolutely rubbish,” or something to that effect.

Yet of those who confidently make this assertion, the majority will have seldom seen Green play, aside from the rare occasions when he turns out for Ireland.

And indeed, the same can be said for many of the Irish players, especially those who ply their trade away from the Premier League, thus avoiding the constant gaze of the media spotlight.

So, with that in mind, we’ve decided to put Irish fans’ widely held assumptions to the test, by ascertaining how the players likely to start against Sweden are judged by the supporters who watch them on a weekly basis for their clubs.

Though all the below opinions have been taken at random from various fan sites, it’s worth bearing in mind that we’ve tried to pick quotes that epitomise the majority of supporters’ opinions towards these players when representing their clubs.

And bear in mind also that there are few sterner critics than a football fan, so brace yourself for some harsh words.

David Forde – Millwall

(INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

On the merits of picking him over substitute goalkeeper Maik Taylor

“Forde has been very good lately and can’t be blamed for the defence having a shocker, he had no chance with the goals. If you think an old boy like Taylor who moves at the speed of a plant vehicle on his line would have saved them, then you’re mad.” hogeyman
“Forde wouldn’t get in the Altrincham team. Some of the decisions he makes are completely wrong. He doesn’t know how to read the game.” Arthur2shedsJackson
“Arthur, he gets in the Republic of Ireland team, he would get in any team league one and lower. He might not be the best we have had but nor is he as bad as your current opinion of him.” Anonymous
His contract is up in a couple of months. His new one is going to be expensive. I’d prefer another keeper. Milano

(via millwall.vitalfootball.co.uk)

Seamus Coleman – Everton

(INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

On Everton’s Man of the Match v Man City

“Can only be Seamus Coleman imo. Great defensively, had the better of Kolarov every time going forward. Very good performances from Mucha, Heitinga and Gibson as well.” Steve_E
“I think Coleman is our player of the season, and despite Mucha being awesome when needed, it would be a travesty for Coleman not to get recognition for today. Avinalaff

On his return against Oldham and his link-up play with Kevin Mirallas

“Glad Seamus is back, they looked a good partnership again down the right. BlueBlood81

Coleman is fourth in the Everton Player of the Season voting (106 votes) on the site, with Fellaini 1st on 186 votes.

(via toffeetalk.com)

John O’Shea – Sunderland

(INPHO/Donall Farmer)

On his performance against Norwich on Sunday:

“His turn in the first half was stunning, shame he rolled it to the Norwich player who was 5 yards away once he’d done it. Probably out of shock.” QuillipsAndPhinn
“His marking for the goal was abysmal also, so why is he on the pitch? Can’t pass, can’t pick up his man and he is deemed a suitable captain” Kid Galahad
“He is terrible. At fault for so many goals this season. I expect a rally call any moment.” prehab26
“As much as his passing was absolutely terrible at times yesterday, I was more concerned with how many balls into the box landed on a Norwich head.” PTR

(via readytogo.net)

Ciaran Clark – Aston Villa

(INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

On his most recent performance for Villa:

“6 – Has shouldered a lot of responsibility this season and gave another good display yesterday.” John

On the possibility of awarding him the captaincy:

“Definitely a future captain IMO. For now though I’d prefer to see someone else and to let him develop without that extra pressure.” HonestJohn1
“He can be headstrong, but is not fazed by reputations. He will (I hope) develop a great understanding with Nathan Baker.” freer

(via villatalk)

Marc Wilson – Stoke City

(INPHO/Donall Farmer)

“Would you leave him at centre-half? One of the problems we seem to have is our distribution from the back, Ryan is the biggest culprit for this, at least Wilson does not just lump every ball forward.” farmer
“Wilson is one of the few players I like at the moment, but his lapse in concentration at the end of the Newcastle match was awful and cost us a point.” onionman
“I’d like to see Wilson given a chance in the middle of the park instead of Whelan when Huth is back. He always looks confident with the ball at his feet.” unknown182
“How about givng the lad a bit of praise for returning from a broken ankle, playing week in week out and doing anything for the team. Just a thought.” Benjamin Biscuit

(via oatcakefanzine)

James McClean – Sunderland

(INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

On why he isn’t starting for Sunderland at times:

“McClean is deadwood and needs to be playing at his level back across the Irish Sea.” safcjimmyp
“Because he contributed with nothing when he came on.” onkeldonald
“McClean played reasonably well vs West Ham, then was dropped for Wigan away and has hardly featured since, Marty needs to put faith in him and put him back in the team now.” Johnsafc
“It’s sad that a player of his mediocrity even gets on the bench. Shows how little quality and quantity we have in the squad.” Geronimo

(via readytogo.net)

Paul Green – Leeds United

(INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

On his most recent performance for Leeds:

“5 – Worked hard but lacks ability, poor passing and lacked ideas in possession.”  Miguelthedog
“Not great in first half, but better in second. Should have scored.” Wigano
“Green was dreadful, his pass completion % must be around the lowest in the league. Yes he tries, but he is poor.” Sihall22

On keeping him at the club:

“Green has his days but had an injury at the start of his Leeds career, then got played out right. I’d keep him for now, lacks pace but can score important goals.” TheNewShamCrazY

(via leedsunitedfanclub.com)

Glenn Whelan – Stoke City

(INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

On his most recent game for Stoke:

“Whelan, bless him, looked terrified every time the ball was passed to him. He was like someone who has been mugged and gone outside for the first time since it happened.” bayernoatcake
“Stoke have only ever lost 4* games when Whelan and Whitehead have partnered in a midfield *this may not be true.” ParaPsych
“Worst midfield player with a ball at his feet ever to play in the Premier League.” sportsman50
“He’s had his time. Must have better midfielders than him.” xchpotter

(via oatcakefanzine)

Robbie Brady – Hull City

(INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

On possibly being Hull’s Player of the Season:

“Top 3 for me at the moment are Brady, Elmo and Quinn.” (The Black Meyler)
“Meyler, Gedo, Brady, Aluko and Boyd have all been good but haven’t played enough for a POTY award.” ISTPLT

On a recent game for Hull:

“Brady was superb and his sprint past their right back in the first half was rapid.” bashdabish

(via not606.com)

Shane Long – West Brom

(INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan)

On starting him with Lukaku at West Brom:

“Defo think this is the way forward, Lukaku’s strength and Long’s pace will be a match for any defence!!!” Foxman_WBA
“If Lukaku and Long start together, we will score goals, and get points, simple. And tbh, I don’t think we can afford not to start them together.” wba_1996

On his performance against Chelsea:

“You could tell Long hadn’t trained much this week, but his effort was at maximum as always.” Harry J Allstar

(via new-606.co.uk)

Robbie Keane – LA Galaxy

(INPHO/Donall Farmer)

On being his club’s most important player:

“Donovan and Keane played well off each other last season but most of those moves wouldn’t have been possible with another MLS forward. Donovan on form matches him but I’ll put Keane #1 until he decides to get back down to business.” SoCalYid
“Donovan, and Gonzalez, and more recently Keane, have been unquestionably game changers for us.” FlapJack
“Keeeeeeeene! A great soccer brain makes everyone else look good around him. I get hyped every time the ball goes to him.” Topper

(via bigsoccer.com)

And four more who may well feature in Sweden:

Sean St Ledger – Leicester City

(INPHO/Donall Farmer)

On what changes Leicester should make for next season:

“A new centre back, I’ve never been a fan of St Ledger.” Kitchandro

On his temporary absence through injury:

“Think we have struggled defensively since St Ledger has been out.” cuddly ken
“I agree on this. Time for some experience at the back, maybe give Keane and Drinkwater a rest and start St Ledger and James.” It’s A Knockeart!

(via Foxestalk)

James McCarthy – Wigan Athletic

(INPHO/James Crombie)

“McCarthy should be dropped for Espinoza… MacArthur and McCarthy are too similar and MacArthur has been the better player.” boyceeeunderrated
“The manager should take off the shackles then and let him be more than a five yard sideways and back player. He’s ‘supposed’ to be screening the back three, but doing little of that.” DannyWAFC
“A big money move is on the horizon for him though & I think (if Latics stay up) that he’ll be the one sold off to fund squad “strengthening”.” WhoRYa

On his performance against Liverpool:

“McCarthy didn’t hide yesterday but from first minute to last he couldn’t pass to a colleague or make any meaningful contribution to the game. He just had a very very poor game.” guzss

(via boards.footymad.net)

Wes Hoolahan – Norwich City

(INPHO/James Crombie)

Hoolahan is another who I could see being here for a while to come. He seems to have a big personality in the dressing room, and like it here. We have no need to sell him, and at 30, I can’t see a club wanting to spend big on him with little chance of a (financial) return. DHCanary
The only position he looks comfortable is playing off the striker/strikers. To play the guy left side is a complete waste of his talent. yarco canary
While it may be hard to fit him into a 4-4-2, it is very likely that we will still line up 4-5-1 away from home, in which case you would want him starting off the striker. tipsycanary
Wes, while being influential in some games, is not effective in numerous others. On Saturday, the Everton players just brushed him aside with ease whenever he got on the ball as he is just too lightweight and not very fast. goldeneadie

(via not606.com)

Jon Walters – Stoke City

(INPHO/Ryan Byrne)

“At best he’s a pub player!!” oldgit57
“If played up front with Jones, I’ve no problem with Jon playing. But when he’s on the wing or alongside Crouch, it’s just abysmal. And painful to watch.” clyde
“I really rate him – I know that’s not a popular view. I just think if he was allowed to play up front without spending half his time tracking back, we’d have a very decent player on our hands.” friendcalledfive
“At least he gets free kicks instead of Crouch, who just seems to give away free kicks!” robwahlmann

(via oatcakefanzine)

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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