KEVIN KILBANE: Reid belongs back in Ireland side - his axing by Trapattoni could have ruined his career

By Kevin Kilbane

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Any Irish player who was in Wiesbaden, Germany, five years ago would not believe it has taken this long for Andy Reid to get his next call-up.

It was an absolute travesty that Giovanni Trapattoni refused to pick him for five years, and allowed a petty disagreement to fester for so long. I have seen and heard much worse rows and the punishment certainly did not fit the crime. It could have cost his career.

After the win against Georgia in Germany in 2008, Trapattoni’s first competitive game, we were allowed a couple of glasses of wine in the hotel bar. We’d been told to adopt an Italian mentality, so were trying to be a sophisticated bunch. All right, we might have had a couple of beers too. After dinner, we made ourselves at home and Andy, as he always did on trips, got his guitar out.

Back in green: Andy Reid hasn't played for Ireland for five years after a blow-up with Giovanni Trapattoni

Back in green: Andy Reid hasn't played for Ireland for five years after a blow-up with Giovanni Trapattoni

It was not a rowdy session, no one went mental with the drinks, it was just another good night, good laugh, daft banter and pretty normal sing-song for the lads. We were celebrating a good win.

Very few players can get to sleep before two in the morning after a night game, especially a victory, so it was not planned to be an early one.

It had just gone midnight when Trapattoni came into the bar, told the barman to stop serving drinks – to the astonishment of the other residents - and told Andy to put the guitar away.

No music: Trapattoni wasn't a fan of the Irish players' celebration sing-songs after a win

No music: Trapattoni wasn't a fan of the Irish players' celebration sing-songs after a win

Then he really turned on Andy, and seemed to be blaming him for the scene before him. Andy, quite rightly, made the point that it was totally unfair to pick him out. He just happened to have the guitar.

Trapattoni was new to the Irish squad and didn’t know that a sing-song was perfectly normal for us, and we didn’t need to be drunk to join in. Ray Treacey admits he probably got an extra 25 caps because he could sing and play a bit while Noel O’Reilly frequently got his guitar out. And he was a coach.

It was made pretty clear to us that Italian squads didn’t do such things. They didn’t even eat mushrooms apparently.

It descended into a very heated argument between the pair before we all went to bed. Unfortunately it re-surfaced in the morning, Andy lost his head, and used a few choice words. The manager, who kept calling him `Reid,’ hardly kept his cool either.

Well-earned: Reid's axing for Ireland side may have prevented him from moving up from Nottingham Forest

Well-earned: Reid's axing for Ireland side may have prevented him from moving up from Nottingham Forest

Looking back, it was quite funny. And that should have been the end of it. When tempers had cooled, the air should have been cleared to erase any doubt that Andy’s exclusion really was down to his ability.

Andy Reid deserves a lot of credit for the dignity he’s shown, never publicly expressed frustration, anger and disappointment. He is very patriotic and playing for Ireland means so much to him. Five years is a lot of games to miss, and it must have been hard knowing Trapattoni would never pick him.

He’s just got on with his football at Nottingham Forest, and he has been playing very well for a while.

But I think his exile has cost him his career. Who is to say that a Premier League club wouldn’t have seen him playing international football and added him to their squad? It is one of the benefits of playing for your country.

New management: Former Ireland under-21 boss Noel King replaced Giovanni Trapattoni

New management: Former Ireland under-21 boss Noel King replaced Giovanni Trapattoni

Good on Noel King for acknowledging his ability and form. He’s made a great start to the season and he’s scoring goals.

The Ireland manager simply cannot afford to ignore a player like him when he is playing regularly and in the form of his career.

As a player, Trapattoni just didn’t fancy Andy. He claimed he was being watched. Maybe he just ignored the positive reports. Andy was not alone there, but he was playing better than some of the midfielders who did get a call-up.

I’m pleased for Anthony Stokes too. He has been playing consistently better, scoring goals, and getting big game experience in the Champions League.

Evolved: Anthony Stokes has found consistency, goals and gained experience for Celtic in Europe

Evolved: Anthony Stokes has found consistency, goals and gained experience for Celtic in Europe

Anthony is a talented footballer, but he has had his issues. We seem to have been saying this since he was a youngster at Arsenal, but hopefully he is maturing and can handle this fresh chance.

Darron Gibson’s absence is another issue that could have been avoided by Trapattoni and was poorly handled.

A fit Darron Gibson will challenge for a starting place at Everton and I know if he is match fit, Roberto Martinez will be keen to see him play against Manchester City, with Gareth Barry ineligible.

I have a lot of sympathy with Darron over his non-participation in the Euro 2012 finals. He should have played. And with strikers playing out of position, late call-up Paul Green getting a run-out and the team performing as they did, he had every right to expect a few minutes at least.

Missed opportunity: Everton's Darron Gibson is another Ireland player who suffered under Trapattoni

Missed opportunity: Everton's Darron Gibson is another Ireland player who suffered under Trapattoni

Mick McCarthy, Brian Kerr or Steve Staunton would have been straight to the club to see the player or ring him and address any issues, not just rely on texts.

The moment Darron said he didn’t want to play, the manager should have been on the first plane to Liverpool. But communication was never Trapattoni’s strong point.

It is key as Ireland manager and there was a breakdown which cost us good players who should have more caps. Hopefully under Noel, and his successor, they can make up for lost time.

 
Danger man: Hatem Ben Arfa has been in rare form for battling Newcastle United this year

Danger man: Hatem Ben Arfa has been in rare form for battling Newcastle United this year

As one of the season’s in-form players, Newcastle United’s Hatem Ben Arfa should have posed a real threat to Everton on Monday night.

Although he managed their one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes, the enigmatic Frenchman was brought off at half-time by Alan Pardew. No doubt he was as frustrated by Ben Arfa’s ineffectiveness, as much as Seamus Coleman’s brilliance.

Seamus totally outplayed him throughout the first-half. He brushed him off the ball, timed his tackles perfectly and gave him no space, and kept attacking, which forced Ben Arfa on to the back foot, attempting to help poor Davide Santon who was getting tortured down the Everton right flank.

Ryan Taylor tells me Ben Arfa is one of those players who can do the most unbelievable things in training, and is not afraid to try them in games, when he is in the mood. He never had a chance at Goodison.

 (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images) CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - JANUARY 07 2013

Dominant: Seamus Coleman was all over Ben Arfa on Monday and saw the Frenchman substituted early

It has been a very good start to the season for Seamus who has made the Everton right-back slot his own after maturing into the role last season.

After a loan spell at Blackpool, which did him the world of good, David Moyes used him as a right winger and he got the odd game at right-back. Notably, for the bigger games, he would turn to Tony Hibbert, who was established as first choice full back.

Technically, he still has improvements to make, but he knows that and he is a diligent worker on the training ground. He wants to improve and he is hungry to play football.

He hasn’t had the academy education of many of his team-mates, so he has been playing catch-up, but continues to make a pretty good job of it.

Thumbs-up 

Graham Kavanagh

Didn’t need an interview to get the Carlisle United job, three wins out of three said it all. Congratulations Kav, let’s hope he can build on such a great start.

Thumbs-down

Fernando Torres

Not sure who’s worse, the Chelsea striker or the FA for not punishing him. You just can’t scratch opponents, it is so wrong and stupid. It wasn’t even cowardly because it was so blatant.


 

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

Trapattoni made a number of strange decisions particularly with his forward and wide players. Even with Trap's departure, Reid will do well to get in ahead of Hoolahan and Pilkington who have also had to wait a while for a call up.

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As a lifelong Forest fan I have to say Reidys second spell has been better than his first when he was younger and fitter and was sold to Spurs along with Dawson. He's trimmer, can turn on a penny and has pace and a cracking left foot. The way he's playing at the minute he'd come close for an England cap - granted that's not as high praise as it used to be - but he can 100% do a job for Ireland.

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