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Thread: John O'Shea

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    Give us a sec Stuttgart, I'll get it for you now.

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    Opening act runs sweetly
    Emmet Malone at Lansdowne Road
    10/02/2005


    SOCCER/International friendly/Republic of Ireland 1 Portugal 0: There will be tougher tests for Brian Kerr's men in the autumn when France and Switzerland come to Dublin.


    On the very biggest nights this Irish team still remains unproven, but after Andy O'Brien's first goal for his country earned them a narrow but deserved win over last year's European Championship runners-up, there can be little faulting their displays in the dress rehearsals.

    The Portuguese are the fifth of the world's top 10 teams to take on the Republic in the last 12 months and none has managed a win. For spells, at least, Luiz Felipe Scolari's side looked more intent than some of their predecessors on breaking the Republic's run, but for most of the game they were second best to a team that defended well, moved the ball through midfield to good effect and attacked with both panache and purpose.

    More clinical finishing and the scoreline might have been more convincing.

    O'Brien's goal afer 21 minutes will win few beauty contests but it was still solid enough stuff. John O'Shea beat Caneira to Andy Reid's corner from the right and got a flick on which the Newcastle defender did well to meet ahead of Paulo Ferrira and turn into the bottom right corner.

    There might have been others, with Robbie Keane, Andy Reid and Clinton Morrison all threatening early on. And Damien Duff gradually emerged as the visiting back four's most persistent problem until his departure to a rousing ovation 20 minutes from time.

    By this stage it was clear Portugal were not setting about their task with quite the vigour they had displayed on home turf last summer. But they nevertheless provided some evidence through the opening half of the quality within the team.

    Petit was the better of their central midfielders, while Deco poked and prodded at the Irish from just in front of the central defence and Cristiano Ronaldo sought to peel the home side open out wide on the flank.

    For quite some time the Manchester United winger's most notable involvement was an early tangle with Duff, and when he later produced a clever flick to take the ball out of the Dubliner's path as he attempted to challenge there was a suspicion he was looking to upstage the local favourite. Some chance.

    Duff marked his 50th senior appearance in just the way he did most of those between numbers 20 and 49, by tormenting his markers and repeatedly opening up Scolari's defence with a combination of his running and exquisitely judged balls into Ricardo's area.

    As he switched from side to side the 25-year-old made the most of the couple of chances that came his way to torment his Chelsea team-mate, Ferreira, as their club manager, Jose Mourinho, looked on.

    Ferreira and the equally seasoned Jorge Andrade coped well enough, however, with the efforts of Duff, Reid and Clinton Morrison to create openings around the penalty box. Rogerio Matias and Caneira, at left back and centre half respectively, seemed less equipped.

    Both Irish wingers gave Matias, in particular, a tough night, with Duff managing at times to make Ronaldo's bag of tricks seem like the throwaway stuff you give to young kids to fool with.

    Three times in the first half the inability of the 30-year-old Vitoria at full back to stem the supply of crosses from the Irish right almost led to goals for the home team.

    It didn't get any better for him in the second period. First Duff skipped down the right side of the box before floating a cross to the far post where Caneira surprisingly headed it back into the path of Keane, only for the striker to swipe at a chance he clearly hadn't been expecting.

    Reid then squeezed outside him 30 metres out, only to send a weak shot wide of the right hand post.

    It culd have been worse, though, for Costa almost capped a rough night with an own goal 16 mintes from time when, under pressure from Keane, he sent the ball flying off his post from 10 yards out.

    By then the locals had eased up, with Kevin Kilbane having departed, Matt Holland looking more subdued and neither full back showing the same inclination to get forward.

    Portugal, meanwhile, were displaying a growing determination to avoid a first defeat since the Greeks silenced the Stadium of Light and the city that surrounds it back in July of last year.

    With the home side's fluidity disrupted, perhaps by changes to the team, the Portuguese profited as their hosts found it harder to string together the sort of long passing movements that had characterised their first-half display.

    The Irish back four, with Richard Dunne having replaced Kenny Cunningham, were now kept busy and Hugo Viano went closest to grabbing the goal required by the visitors to salvage a draw with a couple of medium-range efforts in the last 10 minutes. The first flew wide after clipping O'Brien while the second drew Shay Given's best save of the night though it appeared to find the net. As it finally rolled clear of the goal the relief of 44,100 strong crowd was obvious.

    REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Given (Newcastle United); Finnan (Liverpool), O'Brien (Newcastle United), Cunningham (Birmingham City), O'Shea (Manchester United); Reid (Tottenham Hotspur), Holland (Charlton Athletic), Kilbane (Everton), Duff (Chelsea); Keane (Tottenham Hotspur), Morrison (Birmingham City). Subs: Kavanagh (Cardiff City) for Kilbane (half-time), Dunne (Manchester City) for Cunninham (60 mins), Miller for Duff (69 mins), McGeady (Celtic) for Keane 83 mins).

    PORTUGAL: Ricardo (Sporting Lisbon); Ferreira (Chelsea), Caneira (Valencia), Jorge Andrade (Deportivo La Coruna), Matias (Vitoria); Petit (Benfica), Tiago (Chelsea); Ronaldo (Manchester United), Deco (Barcelona), Simao (Benfica); Pauleta (PSG). Subs: Hugo Viana (Sportig Lisbon) for Ferreira, Nuno Gomes (Benfica) for Pauleta, Meira (VfB Stuttgart) for Tiago, Costa (Porto) for Deco (all half-time); Boa Morte (Fulham) for Simao (61 mins), Fernandes (Benfica) for Ronaldo (70 mins).

    Referee: M Messias (England).




    © The Irish Times

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuttgart88
    If anyone can paste anything from today's Irish Times here I'd really appreciate it.

    I can only get the Irish Times a day late where I live.

    If you were to depend on SKY Sports and the Irish Indo for information you'd think the 3 points away to Israel were already in the bag.
    I Duffer brings house down
    Tom Humphries
    10/02/2005


    SOCCER/Manager's reaction: To use the vernacular the Portuguese, came, saw and didn't fancy it. To use the truth neither did we. Well, not much.


    A cold Lansdowne night with the rain skirling and spoiling and the only goal of the night a scrambler from two yards by a big centre half. You imagined the Portuguese postcards to home. Weather bad. Lucky you're not here.

    The Portuguese looked as if they had wandered onto the wrong set. Tanned and resplendent in their silky Michael Jackson strip which looked black from some angles and white from others, they found the elements and the bumpy pitch and the robust Irish a little too much to digest, especially in the first half when they seemed bereft of any ideas except getting back on the bus and going home.

    When they played they gave glimpses of the genius which should have brought them a European Championship on their own turf last summer.

    Brian Kerr said afterwards that he thought they played the best football of any side since Portugal were here last and for the flashes when they were interested perhaps you could agree with him.

    There was lots that didn't glitter though.

    Afterwards Luiz Felipe Scolari came among us working serfs in the little bandroom in the corner of Lansdowne Road.

    What did he think? Scolari gave his best hangdog Gene Hackman expression, shrugged his shoulders and expounded. "We have come here to prepare for next months game against the Czech Republic. We have learned something about our game. Mainly the free kicks and corners, need work. We made mistakes. We have learned. We will try to do better. This wasn't the result we wanted but it is not the end."

    What did he think of Ireland? "What we expected, strong team. If we scored first probably we would have won the game. When they scored first probably not."

    Would Damien Duff get into the Portuguese team? This time Scolari didn't need to turn to his mournful translator.

    - "No."

    Startled pause.

    - "He is not Portuguese."

    Brian Kerr arrived, his side having just kept alive a long run of remarkable results in friendly games. Even Brian seemed affected by the chill, however. He came wrapped up in a scarf that looked like it had been nicked from Rupert the Bear.

    A morale boost, Brian? "I don't think it will have a major influence on morale. I think that's been good. I think the performance should reinforce the players confidence and their ability to dig in and to understand that we can play a bit against the top teams."

    After the break four of the Portuguese had been replaced by understudies and the sudden voltage of youthful enthusiasm altered the game as the visitors got the better of a messy 45minutes. Still it was one of those February friendlies.

    "We've taken on a lot of good teams. We've been adventurous. It's a risk. You could lose a lot. You could slip down the rankings, although I'm a bit dubious about what that's worth. The friendlies have been important in developing players and a system. There's a lot of value there for younger players. Some of the players out there tonight are really , really top players."

    Andy O' Brien is known , perhaps not his face, as Postman Pat and the successful delivery of the first goal of his international career so caught the imagination that he went home with the man of the match award. "Andy has had to wait a long time to get his chance, because of the form of Steve Staunton and Gary Breen and Ken Cunningham and Richard. He's got in, he's played well. We've conceded one goal in nine games. He has done well after a difficult awkward spell at Newcastle. I'm pleased for him."

    Damien Duff could feel hard done by about the man of the match thing. Not seeming quite in sync with the gladiatorial edict about not doing friendlies Duff ran and harried all night and even found time, crazed hatchet man that he is, to engage in a running niggle fest with Cristiano Ronaldo, the most tanned player on the field getting tired eventually of the sight of the palest player in existence.

    Ronaldo with his pristine white socks worn high looked as imperious as a matador at times. Duff nipped and barked around him and performed many tricks of his own with the cape. Their battle was the most enjoyable element of a hard night.

    "I think he was sensational at times" said Brian "the honesty of his workrate was very apparent. When he got on the ball he was fantastic. It's a longtime since we have seen four wingers on a pitch in Dublin. There was some stuff out in the wide positions."

    Where is he at now in world terms? "At the European Championships in Portugal there weren't many better wide players than Figo and Ronaldo and Damien is in that bracket. I think overall it's hard to say where people stand. It wasn't just all about Damien though. "

    Not so sure. Coming soon, I Duffer.




    © The Irish Times

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    Thanks a million Donal, much appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuttgart88
    If anyone can paste anything from today's Irish Times here I'd really appreciate it.

    I can only get the Irish Times a day late where I live.

    If you were to depend on SKY Sports and the Irish Indo for information you'd think the 3 points away to Israel were already in the bag.
    Defenders quick to come to the fore
    Gavin Cummiskey
    10/02/2005


    Players' Reaction: A friendly with plenty of snap. Club rivalry can do that to a friendly. Not what the Premiership managers would have liked, but right up Brian Kerr's alley with Israel back-to-back next.


    Andy Reid's recent graduation to the top level in English football ensured all starting 11 were Premiership players, a further sign of the rude good health.

    There were plenty of stories on the night. Damien Duff hit the 50-cap milestone and had an entertaining running battle with Cristiano Ronaldo - the Premiership title tensions coming alive at Lansdowne Road. In an almost Keane-esque undertone of competitiveness, Duff waited until the 66th minute to exact revenge for a first-half challenge. A yellow card quickly followed.

    With little knowledge of the Manchester United/Chelsea spat, Rogerio Matias weighed in on Duff soon after for a yellow of his own.

    Kerr had enough as he pulled his prized possession for Liam Miller, a United player but probably just an irony here. Felipe Scolari soon called Ronaldo ashore.

    Nobody heard anything from the Duffer thereafter, accept maybe his club manager, Jose Mourinho, who had made the short jump over.

    Shay Given was, as ever, receptive to the media requests: "It was a difficult night, very blustery and very wet," he said, almost giving the Portuguese an escape hatch. "But we're happy with another victory over a top-tier team in Europe. A nice scalp."

    The main story duly became the defence. Richard Dunne was rewarded for his excellent form of late at Manchester City, but it didn't bode well that he replaced Kenny Cunningham, to partner Andy O'Brien. The Newcastle centre half put aside his club problems with a first international goal and the man of the match award.

    "Very pleased with myself," he beamed. "I waited a long time for it I so I'll enjoy it. They all count, don't they? It's always nice to get on the scoresheet, but what really mattered was we won the game with it as well."

    Then came Dunne, his main rival to partner captain Cunningham, for now at least he seemed content to be back in the fold where this season he proved he belongs.

    "The clean sheet is a good start to the year. Hopefully we can continue that. I enjoyed playing for Ireland, but it was a difficult match. The conditions were not very good but we did really well. It great to get a clean sheet as you get into a habit of it.

    "They are doing well in their group and scoring lots of goals. They probably thought they could come here and put one over on us. Over the years a lot of teams think they can come here and win."

    The full house (44, 100) also got a glimpse of Celtic's Aiden McGeady for somewhat longer than his injury-time spell against Croatia. He got seven last night, so

    the international standardised jury still remains out.

    "I've still got it all in front of me but it's good being involved. I'm just gong to have to keep working hard."

    Still only 18, maybe the China friendly will reveal more.




    © The Irish Times

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    John O'Shea

    I know I have castigated O'Shea before about his performances at left back and I left the game last night thinking he was definitely the weak link.

    This morning I read every paper and was convinced I was either going mad or just have a prejudiced view about O'Shea when I read that every one of the ratings gave O'Shea a 7, most of them giving him the same mark as Andy Reid. I looked at the match again on tape this evening and saw nothing that changed my mind.

    However, when scanning the views of regular contributors to this forum, for example;
    Condex: O'Shea - 5 Very poor positioning
    Tetsujin1979: John O'Shea - The weak spot all night, gave away passes, drifted into the middle, on more than one occassion Duff was doing a better job of a left full!
    Dotsy: I wasn't overly impressed with JOS. He seemed to loose concentration a number of times and misplaced a few passes that should have been simple.
    Kerryman: John O'Shea was pathetic - careless, lazy and sloppy all night
    pineapple stu: Was surprised to see the Sky ratings (think the link is here) giving O'Shea a 7, and saying something like he worked hard. There's times I think that my idea of playing left-back is completely different to reality! Maybe you're supposed to drift infield and let Reid cover back all the time? Maybe you're supposed to clear sloppily, hoof the ball into play or straight to the opposition

    I was relieved that it wasnt only me who viewed O'Shea's performance as poor. Pineapple stu summed O'Shea's performance up perfectly.

    In previous posts I have said that I want to see O'Shea do well playing for Ireland, so this not another knock O'Shea rant. However, it is the biggest area of concern currently in the team. I don't know if Brian Kerr sees it as such but my fear is that the Israelis will have already sussed this out and will plan accordingly. From a defensive of view, Maybury or Richard Dunne are far better options at left back.
    Honest! I am not a secret Tim nor a closet Sham - I really am a Seagull.

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    Interesting point...I felt the same way about his performance. I was forced to listen to the game at work, and Eoin Hand I believe (Yes??) was going on about O'Shea's football intelligence, and how now matter what area of the park he played, he was always well-positioned.

    I always felt that he was a good enough athlete for a CB, but a bit hard-in-the-head football-wise, so I thought that I was in the wrong. But when I got to watch the game on tape, I thought he was frequently out of position. And yes, lazy, going through the motions.

    He just doesn't seem to be an insinctive player, you can almost see the wheels turning in his head going over the various options he has. Then again, the poor lad is played everywhere but in his centre-back position, so I guess it's not his fault, though I'd be shaking in my boots personally if he lined up there.

    Kerr strikes me as a very defensive coach, so Dunne, though not much going forward, might be an option as he was before, and he originally was at Everton. It would be a very Sven-like move for him though, playing him out of position. Sven would probably play Duff at left-back, given what he has shown lately tracking back

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    I used to think O'Shea took too much flak. But although I now think that he just isn't the answer at left-back I'd have him ahead of Harte or Maybury any day. It's O'Shea's distribution I'm most worried about, not his defending. Ball retention is critical at this level and he's usually the main culprit when we give it away cheaply. Thankfully Duff's all round game has improved to the extent he can cover back as well as anyone. I though he and O'Shea coped really well with Gallas & Pires in Paris.

    But pay no attention whatsoever to The Indo or SKY TV's analysis of this team & the players. I had to stay in London and watch the game at home. Niall Quinn offered no objectivity whatsoever & had overdosed on the naivity pills. Paul Dempsey reckoned we only had to turn up to win in Israel. I bought the Indo to read on the tube yesterday morning and nearly tore it up it annoyed me so much. It seems you only need to be able to lace your boots to get awarded 8 out 10.

    But back to O'Shea. Finnan (one of our 3 or 4 MVPs in my view) is very accomplished at left-back, though I doubt he'd be as effective as an attacking full-back on that side. O'Shea would surely be better suited to right-back. It's his natural side and he's npt as versatile or experienced as Finnan. I thought Kerr's use of subs was quite clever the other night (maybe not wrt Miller) but I thought it'd be useful if he switched full backs for a while to see how it worked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuttgart88
    But back to O'Shea. Finnan (one of our 3 or 4 MVPs in my view) is very accomplished at left-back, though I doubt he'd be as effective as an attacking full-back on that side. O'Shea would surely be better suited to right-back. It's his natural side and he's npt as versatile or experienced as Finnan. I thought Kerr's use of subs was quite clever the other night (maybe not wrt Miller) but I thought it'd be useful if he switched full backs for a while to see how it worked.
    yea i'd go with that finnan at lb and if no carr o'shea over at right back. it still wouldn't confidence-inspiring. an aside, i've always thought the left back had to be one of the most sound defenders on the pitch since he's up against a right-footed winger and there are many more of them in the world than left-footed.. except for ireland

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    O'Shea has a lot to prove, and I dunno how he can get in the team ahead of Finnan or Maybury at the moment

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    O'Shea is a joke at left-full.
    He must have thought he was lining out for the rugby team the way he was kicking for touch. If a right footed player wants to play a neat ball up the left sideline, he should at least angle himself in such a way as to give him half a chance of keeping it in play. I'd have Ian Harte ahead of him purely on this alone.
    I got lambasted by ManUre "supporters" because they said I was just having a go for the sake of it. Then I read the papers to see him getting 7 and thought that I had seen a different game. Thankfully there are others on this board who concur.
    Have Boot Disk, will travel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Éanna
    O'Shea has a lot to prove, and I dunno how he can get in the team ahead of Finnan or Maybury at the moment
    I wouldn'ty exactly say that, Finnan yes but O'Shea on one leg is better than Maybury, who in my opinion is not international standard.

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    I agree, Maybury should barely be in the squad

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    Maybury has been solid whenever I've seen him in an Ireland shirt (well for what I can remember anyway). O'Shea hasn't.

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    O'Shea has never performed as well for Ireland as he has done for Man Utd. Still, he's a good player as his recent Man U performances prove. It seems that when he has a great game like a few weeks ago, there's a thread up here singing his praises and then when he's not so good, there's one tearing him up. He's a good player, I think, who has elements of his game that still need ironing out. He's still young and this can still be sorted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eirebhoy
    Maybury has been solid whenever I've seen him in an Ireland shirt (well for what I can remember anyway). O'Shea hasn't.
    He's looked awful when I've seen him. Incapable of crossing or passing a ball and his defencive frailties were exposed, and im some style, against Poland.

    O'Shea isn't a left back, it's upto him to nail down a place in the Man U team and not keep moving about as he certinaly wont be a left back long term, he'll be a central mid fielder or, more likely, a centre half.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Condex
    I wouldn'ty exactly say that, Finnan yes but O'Shea on one leg is better than Maybury, who in my opinion is not international standard.
    This is a terribly stupid comment. Maybury is a very capable left back (think back to his display against Holland last summer). He has played 9 times for Ireland and while he might never set the world on fire, he has been steady when he has played and has made no howlers that have cost us goals.

    Contrast that to O'Shea who gave away a penalty on his debut against Croatia when he was only on the pitch for less than 10 minutes and have you forgotten his mistake against Switzerland in Basle in October 2003, both of which cost us goals.

    Yes, O'Shea may be a more versatile footballer than Maybury, but he is not a full back and is a liability to us in that position.
    Honest! I am not a secret Tim nor a closet Sham - I really am a Seagull.

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    Nothing stupid at all about the statement, seen him in Poland last year, and was at that match in Holland as well.

    We must have 5 fullbacks better than he is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Condex
    Nothing stupid at all about the statement, seen him in Poland last year, and was at that match in Holland as well.

    We must have 5 fullbacks better than he is.
    Maybury was one of six second half substitutes used in Poland, he played about 30 minutes. Not many of the players distinguished themselves that night, but no goals were conceeded.

    In the Holland game you might remember that Robbie Keane's goal came after been given the ball by Andy Reid, who had collected the ball after Maybury dispossessed Van Nistelroy.

    Regarding having 5 full backs better than Maybury, Carr and Finan are, but they are naturally right sided players. Stephen Kelly is also a right sided player. Assuming the primary function of a defender is to defend, perhaps you can tell us who we have at left back ahead of Maybury. Harte? O'Shea? neither of whom can defend.
    Honest! I am not a secret Tim nor a closet Sham - I really am a Seagull.

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    Harte and O'Shea are both far better than Maybury, if you can't even see how woeful he was against Poland just because we didn't concede than no wonder you can't see what.

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