Euro 2012 squadwatch: Kenny, Gibson and a relegated Kevin Doyle
With time ticking down to the Euros, we have a look at which potential members of the Euro 2012 squad are making waves and the others who might be making alternative holiday plans.
Who worries about Ireland’s goalkeepers this summer? Nobody, but that’s why we’re here. Shay Given is obviously the man and barring disaster he will play every game in Poland and hopefully beyond. But if something does befall the Villa man, things look bleak.
His two back-ups are likely to be Kieren Westwood and David Forde. Westwood hasn’t played in 2012, for anyone. His last game was on St Stephen’s Day against Everton. As for Forde, as Millwall fell out of contention for the play-offs, Forde was banished to the New Den Bench, where he has remained for over a month.
All of this brings us to the enigma of Paddy Kenny. The QPR stopper is a bit of a Benjamin Button, looking considerably younger now than he did when he was the man between the sticks for the infamous 5-2 defeat in Cyprus.
Since then he has had his ups and downs but Kenny was excellent against Spurs on Saturday and he has contributed more than most to QPR’s move away from the relegation zone in recent weeks.
We know he has had his issues with the FAI but he certainly deserves his place ahead of Westwood or Forde at the minute.
The interminable debates over the usefulness or otherwise of Darron Gibson have died down since he left the cosy confines of Old Trafford. From being a Carling Cup sub under Fergie, Gibson is now finally playing regular football and we get to see what he can do.
It turns out he is exactly what you thought he was. Good on the ball, occasionally an incisive passer and the possessor of a fierce, if not always accurate, shot. But the Derry man is clearly playing with confidence, not something we always saw before, especially in green.
Gibson's switch from red to blue could benefit the green
Against his old team yesterday Gibson was influential, at least in the first half, and he very nearly scored a beauty on the half hour. It flew wide and that sums him up. Gibson is good, not great, but he is now a Premier League regular and for that reason alone we should be glad he is in our squad for Poland.
Somewhere, in deepest darkest Wexford, somebody is composing a lament to Kevin Doyle. The golden boy, the sunniest of the south-east’s sons, he was the happy-go-lucky striker with a great work ethic and a happy knack of grabbing the odd goal.
Now he cuts a desolate figure on a desolate team. Like Messrs Hunt, Foley and Ward, Doyle’s form has dropped as Wolves season has sank but no player of that quartet was more important to Ireland than Doyle. Now only getting bit part minutes as sub or as a solo front man who is knackered after an hour, Doyle has endured a torrid year. Against City, as his team slid out of the top flight, Doyle was not callled upon until there was 30 to go.
The former Reading man huffed and puffed but got little change out of the City defence. We hope a month away from Molineux and some confidence boosting friendlies will get Doyler back on track.