First published in The Pink on Saturday October 15, 2011.
HE MAY have won ten league titles in four countries, every single European honour there is in club football and been manager of one of the most decorated international sides in history, but that is not to say Giovanni Trapattoni couldn’t do with a bit of advice.
And who best to give that advice than a 28- year-old journalist for a regional paper in England, whose finest footballing moment came when scoring a last-minute tap-in against some middle aged Watford fans three years ago?
You see, my beloved Republic of Ireland are in a bit of a quandary – and I think Saints hold the answer.
Record goal-scorer Robbie Keane is injured, Kevin Doyle suspended and Leon Best is waiting in the wings. If that doesn’t call for some intervention, then I don’t know what does.
This week the side qualified for the Euro 2012 play-offs but the attacking options for the Estonia match look a little thin on the ground.
West Brom duo Shane Long and Simon Cox (you may not have heard of the latter) look useful but there is an option. An option that has defied the odds.
Ladies and gentlemen, fhir agus mhná, I give you David Connolly.
We all know here in Southampton that he has been in blistering form this season, netting four in nine. But ever since he came here, he has demonstrated something sorely lacking outside the Premier League – intelligence.
By that, I don’t mean all other footballers are idiots, but watching Connolly’s work off the ball is an education.
He’s no longer the youngest, so he chooses his runs carefully – usually for one of two reasons.
Either he’ll be creating a chance for himself or he’ll be pulling defenders all over the place creating space for Rickie Lambert, Guly or Lallana, to name but a few.
He hasn’t featured for Ireland since being called up to Il Trap’s first ever 40-man squad despite being injured.
But with all that is riding on the game with Estonia – regardless of their perceived weakness – does it not make sense to resort to experienced class?