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Thread: Gavin Bazunu G Southampton b.2002

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olé Olé View Post
    Random English rag reports Spurs looking at Bazunu. Random Ireland football supporters respond with a blend of knocking Bazunu down and building Vicario up.
    Its an Irish soccer forum…every player in the world is amazing…except the Irish ones

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olé Olé View Post
    Random English rag reports Spurs looking at Bazunu. Random Ireland football supporters respond with a blend of knocking Bazunu down and building Vicario up.
    I think it's less about knocking Bazunu down than the situation with Kellagher (and Randolf before him) making us all a bit sensitive to the risk of our players not playing at a big club.

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    Twitter glowing about Bazunu last night. Fans seem really behind him now.

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    seems to be having more good games rhan bad lately. bit of confidence since he "scored" maybe. great to see. hopefully we can say he's a good Championship level keeper by the end of this season. Another season there maybe and then back to try the Premiership.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ontheotherhand View Post
    seems to be having more good games rhan bad lately. bit of confidence since he "scored" maybe. great to see. hopefully we can say he's a good Championship level keeper by the end of this season. Another season there maybe and then back to try the Premiership.
    He is already a good Championship goalkeeper - indeed he could even be regarded as the best goalkeeper in the Championship at the moment.

    The confidence stuff is important - a goalkeeper with confidence in himself and his defence is a far better goalkeeper (same with a striker).

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    Quote Originally Posted by John83 View Post
    I think it's less about knocking Bazunu down than the situation with Kellagher (and Randolf before him) making us all a bit sensitive to the risk of our players not playing at a big club.
    Let's be clear -

    Both Bazunu and Kelleher are probably better than any goalkeeper who has played for Ireland in the last 100 years with the exception of Shay Given (and possibly Tommy Farquharson who played for a very good Cardiff team in the 1920s)

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    Maybe a bit of a random one but I'd say Dean Kiely at his peak was ahead of where the two lads are at the moment as well. Albeit the role of a GK has evolved a lot since then, but almost 200 Premier League appearances has to count for something. Given and Kiely remain the only two Irish keepers that managed to establish themselves as long term Premier League starting keepers. We were unlucky that they were both on the scene at the same time as each other, though I suppose Given's career was so long that it was nearly inevitable.
    Keane O'Shea Given Best Smallbone

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eirambler View Post
    Maybe a bit of a random one but I'd say Dean Kiely at his peak was ahead of where the two lads are at the moment as well. Albeit the role of a GK has evolved a lot since then, but almost 200 Premier League appearances has to count for something. Given and Kiely remain the only two Irish keepers that managed to establish themselves as long term Premier League starting keepers. We were unlucky that they were both on the scene at the same time as each other, though I suppose Given's career was so long that it was nearly inevitable.
    Yeah ~ Dean Kiely at his best was a damn fine Goal-Keeper.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    Let's be clear -

    Both Bazunu and Kelleher are probably better than any goalkeeper who has played for Ireland in the last 100 years with the exception of Shay Given (and possibly Tommy Farquharson who played for a very good Cardiff team in the 1920s)
    This is absolute nonsense

    I mean, if we're assuming that 1920s football is any way comparable to today, then we're ignoring difference in ability between eras. Fine - but Packie Bonner was nominated for the Ballon d'Or FFS. Both Alan Kellys were very solid keepers; junior probably over-performed for Ireland where he was never anything other than solid and was unlucky not to play in a finals tournament. Senior was a highly respected keeper too; played in a team that reached the Cup final.

    Kelleher can hardly be considered ahead of that when he's played about two dozen games in his career. Bazunu was out of his depth in the Premier last year and is still down the bottom of the list in the Championship by various metrics, decent improvement notwithstanding.

    We've tended to have good succession in terms of keepers - Bonner giving way to Given at the right time the obvious example - and it hides that we haven't had many decent ones.

    But let's not get silly for all that

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    This is absolute nonsense

    I mean, if we're assuming that 1920s football is any way comparable to today, then we're ignoring difference in ability between eras. Fine - but Packie Bonner was nominated for the Ballon d'Or FFS. Both Alan Kellys were very solid keepers; junior probably over-performed for Ireland where he was never anything other than solid and was unlucky not to play in a finals tournament. Senior was a highly respected keeper too; played in a team that reached the Cup final.

    Kelleher can hardly be considered ahead of that when he's played about two dozen games in his career. Bazunu was out of his depth in the Premier last year and is still down the bottom of the list in the Championship by various metrics, decent improvement notwithstanding.

    We've tended to have good succession in terms of keepers - Bonner giving way to Given at the right time the obvious example - and it hides that we haven't had many decent ones.

    But let's not get silly for all that
    Bonner, the Kellys, Jim McDonagh, Peyton and even Randolph were all decent goalkeepers - and I am big admirers of both Kelly Sr and Kelly Jr. However, Kelly Sr played most of his career in the lower reaches of the old Second Division and in the Third Division - today he would be a League One goalie at best - Kelly Jr started with Preston in the Third Division and then dropped to the Fourth, he then spent another 5 years in the Third before joining Sheff Utd spending most of his 7 years there in what is now the Championship. Kelly Jr today would also likely be a League One goalie probably at a slightly higher standard as his dad. The same would apply to McDonagh (apart from a couple of good years around the time of the Bolton to Everton switch), Peyton and probably Randolph (apart for one or two good years). Bonner played for a Celtic team that dominated in Scotland but likely would have struggled to get out of the Championship if in England - he was at best a Championship goalie and his reputation has been overhyped by his heroics in the Irish jersey (and he was at fault for several goals in important games for Ireland).

    The reason why I included Farquharson with Given was that he played for a Cardiff team that finished runners-up in the title race in 1924 as well as winning and being losing finalists in the FA Cup and were consistently competitive throughout his time there until they went into freefall in the late 1920s. Farquharson was the backbone of the team - the one constant throughout that entire period.

    Then you go off with your usual - talking about metrics - according to metrics Onana is the second best goalkeeper in the PL - except he has likely just cost his club a minimum of £10m by his gaffes in the Galatasaray game a few days ago.

    I will repeat - Ireland is very fortunate to have two goalkeepers the quality of Bazunu and Kelleher and one or the other will ensure that Ireland will have a quality goalkeeper for the next 15 or so years (and that doesn't take into account that Travers and even O'Leary would have won a lot of caps in times past). The one position that we should really not have any worries about for the next couple of decades is goalkeeper - if we had the same quality throughout the rest of the team then we would have a damned good side representing the country (and the potential is still there for that to happen).

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    Quote Originally Posted by seanfhear View Post
    Yeah ~ Dean Kiely at his best was a damn fine Goal-Keeper.
    Forgot about Kiely - playing second fiddle to Given - a good goalie - but again - today would probably be in the Championship (or playing for the likes of Sheff Utd or Norwich).

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    Clean sheet today for Baz
    Last edited by JR89; 02/12/2023 at 7:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    Bonner, the Kellys, Jim McDonagh, Peyton and even Randolph were all decent goalkeepers - and I am big admirers of both Kelly Sr and Kelly Jr. However, Kelly Sr played most of his career in the lower reaches of the old Second Division and in the Third Division - today he would be a League One goalie at best - Kelly Jr started with Preston in the Third Division and then dropped to the Fourth, he then spent another 5 years in the Third before joining Sheff Utd spending most of his 7 years there in what is now the Championship. Kelly Jr today would also likely be a League One goalie probably at a slightly higher standard as his dad. The same would apply to McDonagh (apart from a couple of good years around the time of the Bolton to Everton switch), Peyton and probably Randolph (apart for one or two good years). Bonner played for a Celtic team that dominated in Scotland but likely would have struggled to get out of the Championship if in England - he was at best a Championship goalie and his reputation has been overhyped by his heroics in the Irish jersey (and he was at fault for several goals in important games for Ireland).
    None were absolutely top keepers, sure, though you stubbornly ignore the Ballon d'Or nomination for Bonner. That's a serious accolade.

    Yet they're still better keepers than someone who's played about 25 games in his career and another player who was out of his depth in the Premier and - like it or not - is not pulling up sticks in the Championship this season.

    You sound like an old man shaking your first at a cloud when you dismiss "metrics"; it's hard to take you seriously. How many times has the "the best goalkeeper in the Championship at the moment" been named on the Team of the Week for example? Or is that another metric that you're happy to dismiss because it doesn't give the answer you want?

    The idea that, just because his form/confidence has improved in recent weeks, Bazunu is right now the best keeper in the Championship and one of the top three keepers we've ever produced is off the wall mental tbh, and has nothing to back it up. This is the keeper France targetted as our weak link in September, let's not forget. He's got a lot of improving to do to earn that praise. He could get there, but let's wait until he does before calling it, eh?
    Last edited by pineapple stu; 02/12/2023 at 5:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    None were absolutely top keepers, sure, though you stubbornly ignore the Ballon d'Or nomination for Bonner. That's a serious accolade.

    Yet they're still better keepers than someone who's played about 25 games in his career and another player who was out of his depth in the Premier and - like it or not - is not pulling up sticks in the Championship this season.

    You sound like an old man shaking your first at a cloud when you dismiss "metrics"; it's hard to take you seriously. How many times has the "the best goalkeeper in the Championship at the moment" been named on the Team of the Week for example? Or is that another metric that you're happy to dismiss because it doesn't give the answer you want?

    The idea that, just because his form/confidence has improved in recent weeks, Bazunu is right now the best keeper in the Championship and one of the top three keepers we've ever produced is off the wall mental tbh, and has nothing to back it up. This is the keeper France targetted as our weak link in September, let's not forget. He's got a lot of improving to do to earn that praise. He could get there, but let's wait until he does before calling it, eh?
    Okay - let's deal with the Ballon D'or stuff - the nominations are made citing three critera (at the time) - Individual performance, team performance and player behaviour and fair play. The nominations are totally random and are nothing more than a popularity contest among a small group of journalists. In 1989 Bonnar finished 17th - higher than Pat Jennings in 1975 (25th) or in 1985 (21st - in an era when non-Europeans were not included). With all due respects to Bonnar - he wasn't remotely close to the goalkeeper that Pat Jennings was. And the season Bonnar was nominated, Celtic finished 3rd and let in 44 goals - only three teams in the SPD conceded more goals. And by the way - Bonnar got two votes - probably from Irish journalists

    And the Team of the Week nonsense - back to bloody algorithms again. Metrics have their place - they provide valuable information - but they are not the be all and end all of everything. Change the algorithm and you change the results. In many cases they are just as subjective as some random joe soap watching a game because the results are no better than the person who developed and updates it. Some sports lend themselves to such analysis - baseball and american football for example - but even then they are of limited use. Metrics cannot judge confidence (big for goalkeepers - and strikers), whether you had a sh*te curry the night before and you are off form or anyone of a myriad of things that can happen in a player's individual life.

    Now - I went through the goalkeepers that Ireland have had over the past 50 years or so - but let's do it again to emphasise the point - and I'll only include keepers who played more than 15 games for Ireland -

    Alan Kelly Sr 1956-1973 (Made his Ireland debut while at Drumcondra - then Preston in Div 2 and 3)
    Mick Kearns 1971-1979 (Walsall - Div 3)
    Gerry Peyton 1977-1992 (Fulham until 1986 in Div 2 - then Bournemouth bouncing between Div 2 and 3)
    Jim McDonagh 1981-1985 (one season with Everton - then Bolton in Div 2 and then 3)
    Pat Bonnar 1981-1996
    Alan Kelly Jr 1993-2001 (Preston Div 4 and 3 - then from 1992 Sheff Utd in Div 2)
    Shay Given 1996-2016 (Newcastle, Man C and Stoke)
    Kieran Westwood 2009-2017 (Sheff Wed - Championship)
    David Forde 2011-2016 (Millwall in League One and the lower Championship)
    Darren Randolph 2012-2020 (Motherwell on loan - then Birmingham - then West Ham in the PL where he played 28 games in two years - then to Middlesbrough in the Championship again)

    For how good Shay Given was - his sole trophy is in the FA Cup with Man City when he was reserve to Joe Hart in 2011 (and the Intertoto cup in 2006) - Kelleher has a CL medal, a CL runners-up medal, and FA Cup medal, an EFL medal and a Super Cup medal. Kelleher started the EFL Final and scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out to win the game.

    Now Shay Given was a top notch goalkeeper - and he deserved a much more illustrious career than he had. But with the utmost respect to the rest of the keepers over the last 50 years - none of them would be anywhere above Championship level today and most would be League One with a couple in League Two.

    Kelleher would be playing in the PL this season if he hadn't signed a five year contract with Liverpool in 2021 and Liverpool weren't demanding £25m for him. IMO he is better than probably half a dozen keepers in the PL.

    Bazunu has played a full season in the PL in an awful team with an utterly useless defence that gave him zero protection. Now that Russell Martin seems to have sorted out the defence Bazunu is showing what he is capable of. And I would also hold the opinion that he is better than the same half a dozen mentioned above.

    You keep harping back to that comment from the French - and it is a load of b*llocks - like Southampton, Kenny made no effort to organise his defence to close down long-range shots. It happened with Kelleher as well for Ireland. None of the players listed above (including Shay Given) would have stopped that goal from France because the Irish defence was/is that bad at closing down the strikers.

    Lastly - I do agree that Bazunu - and Kelleher - are not the finished article. Goalkeepers don't come into their prime until their late 20s - Kelleher is 25 and does need to play (a lot) more games - Bazunu is still only 21. The fact that Bazunu is four years younger than Kelleher leads me to believe that he ultimately be the better goalkeeper. If any goalkeeper emerges in the next 15 years and knocks either Bazunu or Kelleher out of the goalkeeper's job then he will be one hell of a goalkeeper and we will be set up for 20-25 years.

    But - the relevant point in all of this is that goalkeeper is not a position of concern for the next Irish manager (nor is the striker assuming Ferguson stays healthy) - the other 9 positions are. We have players who have potential - but they will have to produce. We have a lot of talent that could come good in defence and attack - but we are completely lacking depth in midfield (which is why I think Collins or Omobamidele should be considered for midfield and why we need Moran to come through - as well as a couple of others).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    And the season Bonnar was nominated, Celtic finished 3rd and let in 44 goals - only three teams in the SPD conceded more goals.
    Maybe that was just the defence he was playing behind, eh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    And the Team of the Week nonsense - back to bloody algorithms again.
    Another performance measurement dismissed because you don't like the answer it gives I see. Not a great basis for an argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    But with the utmost respect to the rest of the keepers over the last 50 years - none of them would be anywhere above Championship level today and most would be League One with a couple in League Two.
    Where do you think Tom Farquharson would be playing today Jolly? Think he'd go from a period where the goalkeeping role had barely been defined and drop straight into the Premier today? I'm not sure on what other basis you dismiss all our previous keepers but count him in. You seem to make rules up inside your head as you go along.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    Bazunu has played a full season in the PL in an awful team with an utterly useless defence that gave him zero protection. Now that Russell Martin seems to have sorted out the defence Bazunu is showing what he is capable of.
    What has he shown? Let's look at a few stats - because God knows, you've produced bugger all yourself in defence of your point.

    This year, Bazunu has the worst percentage save rate of any keeper in the Championship. Only five keepers have conceded more goals - including three of the bottom four teams. His PSxG variance is the worst in the division (which, like it or not, takes the defending into account). He's in the bottom 25% of keepers by match rating. Only three keepers have claimed fewer crosses (by %). You are having a laugh if you think you can dismiss all of this by referencing a dodgy defence - the same defence which, last season, gave up fewer shots than anyone bar Man City, Newcastle, Arsenal, Brighton and Man United.

    And yet you think this is the performance of someone who is better than half the keepers in the top flight?

    But I'm sure you'll just dismiss those as meaningless - without any real discussion as to why - and blindly reiterate that he's doing great.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly Red Giant View Post
    You keep harping back to that comment from the French - and it is a load of b*llocks - like Southampton, Kenny made no effort to organise his defence to close down long-range shots.
    I see you ignore the specific point l'Equipe made about Bazunu's poor footwork on long range shots being a big part of the weakness they flagged. Not like you to ignore points that don't suit.

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    Guys, the discussion is fine and welcome, but keep it civil please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John83 View Post
    Guys, the discussion is fine and welcome, but keep it civil please.
    Noted - I will try and do better

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Maybe that was just the defence he was playing behind, eh?
    So Bonnar letting in goals can be excused because he had a bad defence - but at Southampton its all on Bazunu?

    Well - Bonnar's defence was Chris Morris, Mick McCarthy, Roy Aitken and Anton Rogan. A pretty decent defence in my opinion - two members of the Irish eleven, a mainstay of the Scottish defence and a N.I. international - and playing in Scotland.


    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Another performance measurement dismissed because you don't like the answer it gives I see. Not a great basis for an argument.
    And one that fans who go to games constantly mock.


    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    Where do you think Tom Farquharson would be playing today Jolly? Think he'd go from a period where the goalkeeping role had barely been defined and drop straight into the Premier today? I'm not sure on what other basis you dismiss all our previous keepers but count him in. You seem to make rules up inside your head as you go along.
    I have no idea where Farquharson would play today - he played nearly 100 years ago - the only reason why I said he might possibly be better than Bazunu and Kelleher is because of the standard he played at - a Cardiff team that were runners-up to the title, won and were runners-up in the FA cup and a team that were consistently in the top half of the division for most of a decade. How many Irish goalkeepers since have been the starting goalkeeper with a team of that quality?

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    What has he shown? Let's look at a few stats - because God knows, you've produced bugger all yourself in defence of your point.

    This year, Bazunu has the worst percentage save rate of any keeper in the Championship. Only five keepers have conceded more goals - including three of the bottom four teams. His PSxG variance is the worst in the division (which, like it or not, takes the defending into account). He's in the bottom 25% of keepers by match rating. Only three keepers have claimed fewer crosses (by %). You are having a laugh if you think you can dismiss all of this by referencing a dodgy defence - the same defence which, last season, gave up fewer shots than anyone bar Man City, Newcastle, Arsenal, Brighton and Man United.
    And here we go again with the stats - the same stats that state that Onana is the second best goalkeeper in the PL.

    Are you seriously arguing that Southampton's relegation last season was down solely to Bazunu? - are you seriously arguing that the fact that Southampton conceding 15 goals in their first five games this season is down to Bazunu?

    If that is the case - then Bazunu should get all the credit for the fact that Southampton have won 8 and drawn 3 of their last 11 games - conceding 8 goals in the process. I wonder how many long-range shots Bazunu has conceded in that stretch of 8 wins and 3 draws - maybe you can indicate?

    Of course the reality is that Martin appears to have sorted out the Southamton defence, that they are now organised and dsiciplined and that they are now closing down attackers rather than giving them an eternity to line up and strike the ball.

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    And yet you think this is the performance of someone who is better than half the keepers in the top flight?
    It might help if you read what I said - I didn't say HALF the goalkeepers in the PL - I said half a dozen - namely Foderingham (39 goals conceded), Trafford (32 goals conceded), Kaminski (26 goals), Neto (30 goals conceded), Johnstone (19 goals) and possibly Vlachodimos (22 goals). At this stage last year Bazunu had conceded 24 goals.

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    But I'm sure you'll just dismiss those as meaningless - without any real discussion as to why - and blindly reiterate that he's doing great.
    Not the argument that I was making - or have ever made.

    To reiterate - Bazunu is a good goalkeeper with a lot of potential, who is 21 years old, makes mistakes and still has a lot to learn. But - he is a better goalkeeper today at 21 years of age than any goalkeeper that Ireland has had in the last 100 years with the exception of Shay Given (and possibly - note the word 'possibly' - Tommy Farquharson because of that standard that he played at 100 years ago).

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapple stu View Post
    I see you ignore the specific point l'Equipe made about Bazunu's poor footwork on long range shots being a big part of the weakness they flagged. Not like you to ignore points that don't suit.
    And like you seem to ignore the fact that Bazunu (and Kelleher) were repeatedly left exposed by an Irish defence (and in Bazunu's case - a Southampton defence) that backed away from every attacker that was in a position to line up and take a shot. When defenders do that then no goalkeeper, no matter who they are, will stand a chance. Take note of the Liverpool / Fulham game today - apart from the free kick, the other three Liverpool goals came from long-range shots where the Liverpool player had all the time in the world to line up and take the strike - and Leno didn't stand a chance with any of them with the possible exception of the last one where he might have got down a bit quicker.

    I will repeat again - Bazunu is not without his flaws - he is still a kid and in goalkeeping terms will not reach his peak (if he keeps developing) for another 7-8 years. But he has the potential and is showing all the signs of being a top notch goalkeeper. Kelleher is also a very good goalkeeper - but he does seriously lack match sharpness - and until he gets a move that will continue to impact on his ability to improve. Kelleher was poor today - but so was the Liverpool defence in general - they didn't help him and he didn't help them too much either.

    Now - we can go around in circles about this - you can keep outlining your metrics and I will keep demonstrating where Bazunu is and is not at fault for individual goals. But at the end of the day your still seem to believe that we have a significant problem in the Irish team with the goalkeeper - I would contend that with Bazunu, Kelleher, Travers and O'Leary covering the goalkeeping position - our problems in the Irish team are at RB, CB, LB, MF and the wide players. We have a goalkeeper (several of them in fact) and a striker - we have potential in several other positions, but if the rest of the team were at the standard of Bazunu and Ferguson, with the potential they have, we would be well set as an international team for the next 15 years (provided we get the right coach in place).
    Last edited by Jolly Red Giant; 03/12/2023 at 10:23 PM.

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    Bonner was a seriously average goalkeeper at club level who played better for Ireland and was one of the big characters in a team full of big characters.

    I don't care what Bazunu's stats are tbh, the narrative says more than the numbers. Poor start to the season, that positive feedback loop of soft goals, low confidence, soft goals...until a run of form led to confidence and continued better form. It's only Twitter but the last month or so has been full of "where are the Bazunu haters now?", "old head on young shoulders", "my man of the match, not X". Granted, I saw the 3 saves last week that Twitter was raving about and they were good rather than remarkable (maybe the Sykes one was notably good) but he made them all at key times in the game. Others have been saying how his distribution is fantastic and essential to how the team plays. Let's hope this form lasts.

    Like JRG says, Onana's stats in the PL are excellent.

    I'm not sure about the point about not having had many decent ones. Mick Kearns was the goalkeeper when I first watched Ireland. Solid albeit at a mediocre club. McDonagh was fantastic. As a kid I watched Bolton on MOTD and thought he was great and this was before he had declared for Ireland. Bonner was fine with some iconic moments and two costly goof ups. Peyton was reliable back up. Alan Kelly was very very good, a late bloomer. He came to real prominence around 1993 in Sheff U's cup run I think and in hindsight should have been our USA 1994 keeper. Around that time, maybe a bit later(?), Keith Branagan couldn't get a game for us. Given was fantastic until he got too old, Kiely was excellent - one of our best ever imho but there at the wrong time. Forde was reliable, Randolph too, a notch up from Forde. And now we're at where we're at. Daft to say Bazunu is in our top 3 at this stage but he has already made one of the best saves I've ever seen an Irish keeper make. Luxembourg away was exceptional. His performace against Serbia at home would be remembered for longer if it had had any consequence ultimately.
    Last edited by Stuttgart88; 04/12/2023 at 8:42 AM.

  22. #999
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuttgart88 View Post
    Bonner was a seriously average goalkeeper at club level who played better for Ireland and was one of the big characters in a team full of big characters.

    I don't care what Bazunu's stats are tbh, the narrative says more than the numbers. Poor start to the season, that positive feedback loop of soft goals, low confidence, soft goals...until a run of form led to confidence and continued better form. It's only Twitter but the last month or so has been full of "where are the Bazunu haters now?", "old head on young shoulders", "my man of the match, not X". Granted, I saw the 3 saves last week that Twitter was raving about and they were good rather than remarkable (maybe the Sykes one was notably good) but he made them all at key times in the game. Others have been saying how his distribution is fantastic and essential to how the team plays. Let's hope this form lasts.

    Like JRG says, Onana's stats in the PL are excellent.

    I'm not sure about the point about not having had many decent ones. Mick Kearns was the goalkeeper when I first watched Ireland. Solid albeit at a mediocre club. McDonagh was fantastic. As a kid I watched Bolton on MOTD and thought he was great and this was before he had declared for Ireland. Bonner was fine with some iconic moments and two costly goof ups. Peyton was reliable back up. Alan Kelly was very very good, a late bloomer. He came to real prominence around 1993 in Sheff U's cup run I think and in hindsight should have been our USA 1994 keeper. Around that time, maybe a bit later(?), Keith Branagan couldn't get a game for us. Given was fantastic until he got too old, Kiely was excellent - one of our best ever imho but there at the wrong time. Forde was reliable, Randolph too, a notch up from Forde. And now we're at where we're at. Daft to say Bazunu is in our top 3 at this stage but he has already made one of the best saves I've ever seen an Irish keeper make. Luxembourg away was exceptional. His performace against Serbia at home would be remembered for longer if it had had any consequence ultimately.
    Forde's kick outs and distribution were simply not good enough for a pro footballer
    Randolph was extremely reliable. I never had any fears or concerns when he was in nets
    We cant honestly say that about Gavin and also Kelleher at the moment.

    I would agree re the Lux save away, that was and astounding save

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuttgart88 View Post
    Bonner was a seriously average goalkeeper at club level who played better for Ireland and was one of the big characters in a team full of big characters.
    Solid comments all round - and this is a key point. That Irish team was full of big characters and but also quite a bit of talent - and all of them played at least to the level of their club form with a large number always playing better than the ever played at club level (Bonnar being a prime example of that).

    Having big characters makes the manager's life easier - and we are lacking big characters today. The Irish team has missed Coleman's presence so much over the past year or so. Duffy is the only player in the current squad that comes close to fitting that mould - John Egan should be of similar character but doesn't seem to impose himself enough (and by the way - being a big character and impacting the training pitch and the dressing room does not appear on any metrics). I have hopes that Evan Ferguson can evolve into that - there is a steely determination about him and he is a big lad who can impose his presence (although he would be doing it in a quite way). I also think Ogbene could grow into a similar role - despite his limited ability - but after that it is hard to see where any big characters could come from - maybe Mikey Johnston or Sinclair Armstrong.

    The job of an international manager is to get the best out of what is available - you can't go out into the transfer market. You have to play in a way that maximises the strengths of the players and minimise their deficiencies - Giles and Charlton did that very well in different ways - and then getting the players in a position that they produce at the same or at a higher level than they do for their clubs. Kenny did the exact opposite - trying to impose a style of play that didn't take advantage of the strengths of the players (Ferguson in particular) and actually exposed the deficiencies in the players and the team in general. And that was the case from Bazunu and Kelleher all the way throughout the rest of the team. Collins is a much better player at club level, so is O'Shea, Knight, Idah, Ferguson, O'Dowda. In fact that only player that has played above his club situation for Ireland this season is Mikey Johnston.

    So - we need a coach that can see what the talent level is, what the issues are - see that there is potential in a lot of the younger players - and then build a team that plays above the sum of its parts. I am going to bang Chris Hughton's drum here again - because that is exactly what he did for two seasons with Brighton in the PL - a squad with largely Championship level players, spending relatively little money, with a bottom three budget - and he managed to keep Brighton in the PL for two seasons when they had no business being there - while laying the foundations for the team to kick on over the following years. Yes the Brighton fans were critical of Hughton's approach at the time - but pretty much all of them now recognise that they wouldn't be where they are today without the job Hughton succeeded in doing for those first two seasons. This does not mean that Hughton would be a success at Ireland - but he does tick a lot of boxes in terms of what is required.

    Are there other coaches out there capable of doing the job - you can be sure they are. The problem is that it is easier to see who is likely not capable of doing the job (the Keanes, Lennon, Bruce, Benitez, Andrews, Duff, Chris Coleman) - Allardyce probably could but we couldn't afford him and these days it is hard to know if he would be willing to put in the effort. I could get on board with Carsley (he has shown potential), Eustace (has been pretty good so far), Barry (the one half-decent run that Ireland had under Kenny was when Barry was with the team), Poyet (life would be interesting - his teams tend to do better in competitive matches than friendlies - and he also had a decent run as Brighton manager, did a good job with AEK and Bordeaux and has won 11 of his 20 games with Greece with a squad on a similar level to Ireland), Herve Renard (a lot of experience at international level - and a better international manager than club manager), and there are others, Roy Hodgson if he is sacked by Palace etc. But the next manager could make or break the potential that these young players have (and the players coming through behind them) - get the right guy and we could have a lot of fun over the next few years - get it wrong and we will have the same level of frustration as the last 3/4 years and probably mess things up for 10/15 years.

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