May 242011
 

“He’s in the bag”, the Manchester United scout might have been thinking after he’d spent five days outlining the benefits of Old Trafford to teenage prospect Anthony Stokes at the SFAI Kennedy Cup at the University of Limerick a few seasons back.

You can see the winners at the starting block can’t you, and it was obvious to anyone who knew anything about football that Stokes was a kid going places. Passing, control, positional awareness. You name it, he had it.

He’d also scored in almost every game at the blue riband tournament of Irish schoolboy soccer as the Dublin District Schoolboy League won it out, again.

The SFAI Kennedy Cup is unique in Europe as it has all the best teams in the country under one roof for five days at the University of Limerick. The tournament is contested on a World Cup format, with the group winners going through to the knockout stages.

The second, third and fourth placed teams advance to the lesser Kennedy Shield, Trophy and Bowl knockout phases. Everyone gets a few games and at times the football, in contrast to the cynicism of the professional game, is a joy to behold, despite the nonsense imposed on the kids from some coaches with their clipboards and FIFA coaching manuals bollocks.

Because the tournament showcases the cream of the next generation of Irish footballers it attracts most of the top scouts from the top clubs in England and Scotland.  There was even a Rangers scout out there one year, ahem.

“Your’re a fine young footballer son, but what’s your take on the Blessed Virgin?”

So what are the scouts looking for in a 13-year-old?

According to a Wolves scout, they’re looking for players with passing, shooting and ball control ability and positional sense. They must also be willing to play for the team. Individuals tend to make managers nervous.

God only knows what they’d make of a young Best or Messi. “Son, unless you stop passing out all the players on the field and keeper and scoring hat-tricks you’ll have no future in the game.”

Meantime, Stokes was the name on all the scouts lips’ that particular year. United, though, were certain they had him in the bag. It’s not hard to see the attraction is it. Approach a teenager and tell him that United are interested and his parents will have him outside Alex Ferguson’s office before the scout arrives back in Manchester from Limerick.

However, Stokes opted to sign for Arsenal and that’s where the rot, as such, began.

Irish boss Michael Corleone aka Giovanni Trapattoni, diplomatically, blew a fuse this week when Stokes, who has since signed for Celtic, announced that he was “too tired” to play for his country in the Nations Cup clash meeting with Northern Ireland tonight.

There’s also a game coming up against Scotland ahead of the European Championships qualifier with Macedonia next month.

Midfielder James McCarthy, meanwhile, has endeared himself to Trapattoni and Irish fans by not even responding to any message left on his phone since he was named in the squad.
Other than that he can’t wait to line out for Ireland.

Reacting to the Stokes and McCarthy situation, Trappatoni confirmed that if a player was recently deceased that would be a cast iron alibi for not showing up for an international match.

“If they’re asked by the national team they must go. If they are in hospital or they are dead, that is okay.

“When I worked with Italian players I asked them what their fathers did, what time they got up in the morning. ‘We are lucky’, I told them. ‘We get up at 10 o’clock because we are sports people’. We are lucky, but we must enjoy playing football. Football is beautiful; it always gives another chance to win.”

But then the Irish manager went and spoiled it all by adding that he won’t be closing the door on anyone.

“No, no, we don’t forget anyone,” he said. “I don’t forget Carsley, we don’t forget Steven Reid. We look for new options, but we don’t forget anyone.”

Sorry Trap, we don’t go along with this anymore. This rot began with that self centered bastard Stephen Ireland a few years back when he refused to play for his country and is now downloading through the entire system.

Instead of closing the door on Ireland’s international career and telling him to fuck off Trappatoni and the FAI indulged him and demeaned the Irish shirt by pleading with him to come back despite the fact that he couldn’t be “arsed.”

The FAI and Trappatoni have to start restoring pride in the Irish jersey. If a player doesn’t want to play for his country then tell them their international careers are over. Make an example of them and close the door on any return. It’s as simple as that really.

Meanwhile, what happened to the young Anthony Stokes who celebrated proudly when the Dublin District League won the Kennedy cup at the University of Limerick?

What happened is that he signed a contract worth 20 or 30 grand, or more, sterling a week. Hand some young men that kind of money and it’s welcome to the parallel universe, a universe where playing for your country is an inconvenience.

That’s the way the game has gone. And as the money continues to pour into rugby that’s the way the oval ball game will go in the future.

Lining out for Ireland. They just couldn’t be arsed.

  12 Responses to “Anthony Stokes “Too Tired” To Play for Ireland”

Comments (12)
  1.  

    Good post. I do think this game tonight is a pain in the backside for both involved. Norn Iron fans are boycotting the game due to the poaching issue, and some of their players pulled out….

  2.  

    B, I heard that their boycotting it because the FAI were insisting that they use certain coaches to get to the match. The “poaching” is not helping either, although if your born on the island of Ireland you can play for who you like.

  3.  

    As a die-hard Celtic man I would normally defend anyone wearing the green and white to the death. However, Stokes is possibly not long for Celtic, he is on a last warning about his couldnae-give-a-fuck attitude with Neil Lennon and his latest declaration about being ‘too tired’ emphasises the point.

    http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/sport/editor-s-picks/neil-lennon-anthony-stokes-is-on-final-warning-1.1103018

  4.  

    I wonder if he’ll ever tell Lennon he’s too tired.

  5.  

    Why did Lennon fine him JB? Roy Keane fined him when he was with Sunderland also.

    Republic 4-0 up against the Ibrox B team with 15 mins left in Dublin.

  6.  

    The day a rugby player earns 20-30 grand a week in wages is unforeseeable. There have been some ludicrous short term contracts like Dan Carter at USAP but that is far from the norm. Imagine Carter telling Graham Henry that he was too tired. Soccer club managers don’t want their charges playing for their countries. Remember Ferguson with Keane, couldn’t see him discouraging Robson in his day. The beautiful game my bollix.

  7.  

    mary hannigan had this one from the boy, ireland,

    march 1st: “Live in Cork? I’d rather shoot myself. I prefer Los Angeles.”

    March 4th: “I love Cork. I’ve Cork tattooed on 1/2 my body.

    – Stephen Ireland leaving his fellow Rebels confused.

    i preferred this one though,

    Cristiano Ronaldo: “The god of football sent me to this planet to teach people how to play and showcase my talent.

    Lionel Messi: I don’t remember sending anyone.

    true for you seconds out – it happens much more with the beautiful game . number 8 has it right above, altough an occasional uppity outhalf thinks himself as something special and entitled to more stuff. no irish need apply – of course .

    stoksie was left behind by keano after arriving late, for a bus, to an away match – that was the year they won the championship with the golden run .

  8.  

    His auld man is fitter. At least he could walk up to a neighbouring publican for a ‘Chat’ about business!!

  9.  

    A beautiful game played by thundering fools? I don’t think so.

  10.  

    How’s that case going Trap?

  11.  

    He was fined for throwing his weight about and blaming the world and his lack of performance of late on the woes and sins of his somewhat misguided faither. Politics has no place in fitba and the little bollix thought he could ride on the coat tails of those who believe that the little green book is still a way of life. Glasgow is far more sectarian than he ever imagined, and he needed a bat in the mouth to remind him of his place. Neil Lennon, regardless of the press reports, is a decent man who will take no shite from anyone. As Mr Stokes soon found out.

    Being “too tired” would just not cut it with the ginger wan.

  12.  

    I reckon he’ll be out the door anon, Scotland came from behind to slay the Dragon 3-1 in Dublin tonight.

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