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Thread: Historical squad comparison

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    I'd have today's crop of centre-backs ahead of 2002's. Cunningham was out of form, Staunton was past it, O'Brien and Dunne were raw. Breen's form in that WC took everyone by surprise - he was a bit of a liability the rest of the time. Collins is a seriously impressive defender who could have an elite-level career; DOS and Egan are big, solid, mobile units who are well able to play ball.

    Cullen is on a par with Holland and Kinsella, but with a higher ceiling than both IMO. The rest of the current squad doesn't compare to 2002.

    Bazunu's learning his trade. Molumby and Knight could go either way in their careers, both may be a bit too technically limited to make it at EPL level. Coleman is done, and Doherty is hot and cold; we're woefully inadequate at LB/LWB, and will be for the foreseeable future (by contrast, despite his lack of pace, Ian Harte had played in UEFA Cup and Champions League semi-finals, and was one of the best dead-ball specialists in Europe). I'm on board the Ferguson hype train, but it's early days. Our other young strikers have shown glimpses of talent, but are all very unproven, even at Championship level.

    Richard Sadlier was left out of the 2002 squad despite scoring 14 goals for Millwall that year, and we could also afford to leave out Steven Reid (until Kennedy got injured), John O'Shea, Stephen McPhail and Colin Healy, who would all walk into our squad now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOOMSHAKALAKA View Post
    The lucrative deal he got for West Ham which lasted a year? And then signed for Sunderland on a free. I've been to Wikipedia.
    Yep. The absence of the transfer fee compensation to a selling club can result in it being very lucrative for the player signing on, at that level. After an excellent world cup, some great leverage too. It was only a one year deal so maybe the previous failed medical player a part. Or maybe he thought he could continue the world cup form through the season and leverage a better move. Who knows.

    No doubt he got a decent wedge going Sunderland too..

    He wasn’t God by any stretch. As ER points out. But he was better than you’re giving him credit for. And Egan.

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    our cbs in 02 were defenders, we have footballers there now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dr_peepee View Post
    Yep. The absence of the transfer fee compensation to a selling club can result in it being very lucrative for the player signing on, at that level. After an excellent world cup, some great leverage too. It was only a one year deal so maybe the previous failed medical player a part. Or maybe he thought he could continue the world cup form through the season and leverage a better move. Who knows.

    No doubt he got a decent wedge going Sunderland too..

    He wasn’t God by any stretch. As ER points out. But he was better than you’re giving him credit for. And Egan.
    Or maybe he wasn't really wanted by many apart from loyal Mick? I'm not saying he was awful, I just would have many of our current crop ahead of him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jd2793 View Post
    our cbs in 02 were defenders, we have footballers there now.
    The likes of Egan, Collins and O'Shea are all big, strong, athletic, aggressive lads who are well able to put their bodies on the line and put a foot in. Breen and O'Brien were notable for lacking in power and aggression, I remember both being bullied by Cypriot forwards, among others, at different times.

    Staunton wasn't even a natural CB, and it told at times, particularly the home games against Portugal and Holland in 01; we could have been 4 down at half time in both. Roy Keane bailed him and Dunne out time and again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Supreme feet View Post
    The likes of Egan, Collins and O'Shea are all big, strong, athletic, aggressive lads who are well able to put their bodies on the line and put a foot in. Breen and O'Brien were notable for lacking in power and aggression, I remember both being bullied by Cypriot forwards, among others, at different times.

    Staunton wasn't even a natural CB, and it told at times, particularly the home games against Portugal and Holland in 01; we could have been 4 down at half time in both. Roy Keane bailed him and Dunne out time and again.
    People are looking back at players in the World Cup and are remembering them fondly because of that but they are misjudging the standard of these players at the time. Without the Keane's, Duff and Given, those players wouldn't have got near the 2002 World Cup. Especially without Roy Keane as you have said.

    As stated, Breen and Staunton weren't great centre backs, Harte was slow and easily exposed, Holland and Kinsella were workmanlike but not much more, Kilbane was an average enough winger, Kelly wasn't a right midfielder and his legs weren't the same at that stage.

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    International Prospect Razors left peg's Avatar
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    I think there's an assumption here with some that the Premiership has only gotten good in the last 10 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Razors left peg View Post
    I think there's an assumption here with some that the Premiership has only gotten good in the last 10 years.
    The premiership/first division has always been 'good'. Not sure of your point.

    I think some might be picking up the wrong end of the stick. I think some current players would be ahead of some 02 players but none of these would get near the 80's, early 90's team.

    It's not recency bias. Saying that, the 80's/90's players would be playing for lesser clubs today as well. Just making objective views of players is all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOOMSHAKALAKA View Post
    People are looking back at players in the World Cup and are remembering them fondly because of that but they are misjudging the standard of these players at the time. Without the Keane's, Duff and Given, those players wouldn't have got near the 2002 World Cup. Especially without Roy Keane as you have said.

    As stated, Breen and Staunton weren't great centre backs, Harte was slow and easily exposed, Holland and Kinsella were workmanlike but not much more, Kilbane was an average enough winger, Kelly wasn't a right midfielder and his legs weren't the same at that stage.
    The Welsh team that got to the Euro semis in '16 was also a workmanlike side with a few elite-level players. That's all you need sometimes. A core of top-level players, hard workers around them, a bit of luck, and the confidence and momentum that comes with a few good results.

    Mick got a lucky break in being forced to play McAteer and Dunne against the Netherlands away after Babb and Kennedy got arrested; we got a great result, McAteer scored and assisted, and Dunne was MOTM, with a goal-saving tackle in the last minute. If we'd lost that game, the rest of the group would have been an uphill struggle, and McCarthy would have lost his job.

    Brian Kerr, a few years later, was caught by two freak sucker-punch results against Israel when we were in control of both games, and the group; we ended up finishing fourth, and he ended up sacked. There wasn't much talent-wise between those two squads. Just luck, confidence, and momentum. Games between 1st and 4th seeds (and sometimes 5th) are often decided by very fine margins, look at the games under Trap when we needed Robbie, Doyler, or a dodgy referee decision, to dig us out of a hole.

    But a small country really needs those three-four top-class players, if they're to stand any chance of overachieving at this level. We don't have them (yet).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Supreme feet View Post
    The Welsh team that got to the Euro semis in '16 was also a workmanlike side with a few elite-level players. That's all you need sometimes. A core of top-level players, hard workers around them, a bit of luck, and the confidence and momentum that comes with a few good results.

    Mick got a lucky break in being forced to play McAteer and Dunne against the Netherlands away after Babb and Kennedy got arrested; we got a great result, McAteer scored and assisted, and Dunne was MOTM, with a goal-saving tackle in the last minute. If we'd lost that game, the rest of the group would have been an uphill struggle, and McCarthy would have lost his job.

    Brian Kerr, a few years later, was caught by two freak sucker-punch results against Israel when we were in control of both games, and the group; we ended up finishing fourth, and he ended up sacked. There wasn't much talent-wise between those two squads. Just luck, confidence, and momentum. Games between 1st and 4th seeds (and sometimes 5th) are often decided by very fine margins, look at the games under Trap when we needed Robbie, Doyler, or a dodgy referee decision, to dig us out of a hole.

    But a small country really needs those three-four top-class players, if they're to stand any chance of overachieving at this level. We don't have them (yet).
    Re; Brian Kerr, Once might be unlucky, twice might be careless / other !

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOOMSHAKALAKA View Post
    Prime Finnan v prime Coleman?
    Finnan suffers a little by playing in that Liverpool team. It was hard to stand out in that side, especially for a full back. He played in two Champions League finals*, a World Cup, the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA World Club Championship, and was named in the team of the season in three different divisions. He was an excellent player.

    Coleman is an excellent player in two average to decent sides, and stands out more because of this

    *I think Steve Heighway is the only other Irish player to do this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supreme feet View Post
    Brian Kerr, a few years later, was caught by two freak sucker-punch results against Israel when we were in control of both games, and the group; we ended up finishing fourth, and he ended up sacked. There wasn't much talent-wise between those two squads. Just luck, confidence, and momentum. Games between 1st and 4th seeds (and sometimes 5th) are often decided by very fine margins, look at the games under Trap when we needed Robbie, Doyler, or a dodgy referee decision, to dig us out of a hole.
    Kerr made his own luck against Israel. Instead of making a like-for-like swap when Robbie Keane had to go off injured by bringing on Stephen Elliott, he brought on Graham Kavanagh, moved Kilbane out to the left, and Duff up front, despite us controlling the middle of the park and Duff causing havoc on the left. There was little we could have done about their two goals - a once in a career header, and a weak penalty - but we were in control of that game until Kerr's unnecessary changes,
    All goals, yellow and red cards tweeted in real time on mastodon, BlueSky and facebook

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    Quote Originally Posted by tetsujin1979 View Post
    Finnan suffers a little by playing in that Liverpool team. It was hard to stand out in that side, especially for a full back. He played in two Champions League finals*, a World Cup, the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA World Club Championship, and was named in the team of the season in three different divisions. He was an excellent player.

    Coleman is an excellent player in two average to decent sides, and stands out more because of this

    *I think Steve Heighway is the only other Irish player to do this.

    Steve Heighway ~ Fantastic player ~ Maybe in the top 10 to have ever played for Ireland
    Last edited by seanfhear; 27/01/2023 at 9:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seanfhear View Post
    Steve Heighway ~ Fantastic player ~ Maybe in the top 10 to have ever played for Ireland
    Think he would have got more recognition if he's played for England. It used to annoy me at the time that Keegan was seen as Liverpool's outstanding player when he wasn't blessed with outstanding ability, just made the most of what he had. I saw Heighway playing in the reserves alongside Whelan and Sheedy after he had lost a bit of pace and wasn't getting picked by Paisley. He was playing as a centre midfield player and absolutely controlled the game. There was a tendency to automatically put technically gifted, skilful players on the wing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by third policeman View Post
    Think he would have got more recognition if he's played for England. It used to annoy me at the time that Keegan was seen as Liverpool's outstanding player when he wasn't blessed with outstanding ability, just made the most of what he had. I saw Heighway playing in the reserves alongside Whelan and Sheedy after he had lost a bit of pace and wasn't getting picked by Paisley. He was playing as a centre midfield player and absolutely controlled the game. There was a tendency to automatically put technically gifted, skilful players on the wing.
    He certainly hardly ever wasted the ball when he was playing on the wing for Liverpool ~ ~ A great example to all wingers.

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    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Little-known fact about Heighway - he turned down a move to UCD in 1981, to keep match fitness ahead of the vital upcoming World Cup qualifier against Holland. (The US season had finished weeks earlier)

    He was dropped from the Ireland squad, we drew 2-2 and missed out on goal difference, and Highway never played for Ireland again.

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    Wow, real sliding doors moment there

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    Quote Originally Posted by tetsujin1979 View Post
    Finnan suffers a little by playing in that Liverpool team. It was hard to stand out in that side, especially for a full back. He played in two Champions League finals*, a World Cup, the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and FIFA World Club Championship, and was named in the team of the season in three different divisions. He was an excellent player.

    Coleman is an excellent player in two average to decent sides, and stands out more because of this

    *I think Steve Heighway is the only other Irish player to do this.
    I thought this couldn’t be right. Lawrenson and Whelan played in the Heysel defeat to Juventus as well as each playing in a winning final.

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    You're right. I had checked the honours section on Whelan's Wikipedia page, which lists the win in 1984, but doesn't include the loss in 1985 Finnan's page includes both finals he played in, 2005 and 2007
    Last edited by tetsujin1979; 11/07/2023 at 10:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BOOMSHAKALAKA View Post
    The premiership/first division has always been 'good'. Not sure of your point.

    I think some might be picking up the wrong end of the stick. I think some current players would be ahead of some 02 players but none of these would get near the 80's, early 90's team.

    It's not recency bias. Saying that, the 80's/90's players would be playing for lesser clubs today as well. Just making objective views of players is all.
    I think Razor's point is that saying our Championship players of today are as good as the Premier League/First Division players of yesteryear is wrong because the Premier League was good back in the time of earlier squads - that we're giving players today too much credit based on an unfounded belief that it's harder to get to play in the Premier League now than it was ten years ago.

    Now maybe he has a bit of a point when you only go back ten years - but go back to 2002 and you find that the Premier League was definitely not as competitive a place as it is now, in terms of breaking into it as a player - for several structural reasons it still primarily featured the best in Britain and Ireland, whereas nowadays it hosts the best in the world. The effects of the Bosman ruling were still only starting to take hold, Eastern European countries were yet to accede to the EU, there was only a tiny fraction of African and Asian players playing at Premier League level as there are today, plus there are far more players from South America choosing the EPL. Plus EPL clubs now have the budgets to have huge academies with players drawn from around the globe.

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