| 13.9°C Dublin

Brennan's brief Why Stephen Kenny needs a proper playmaker who can prise open quality defences

Close

Serbia's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, right, celebrates with Dusan Tadic after scoring his side's opening goal

Serbia's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, right, celebrates with Dusan Tadic after scoring his side's opening goal

Serbia's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, right, celebrates with Dusan Tadic after scoring his side's opening goal

One thing Irish football is missing right now was on view at the Aviva Stadium last night. Sadly the player, Dusan Tadic, was wearing the white shirt of Serbia.

You see Tadic is a playmaker, a ‘Number 10’, a footballer who can operate at the highest level of international football, and prise open quality defences.

The Boys in Green haven’t had anything like him since the days of Andy Reid and Wes Hoolahan. The prime of those lads’ careers was wasted, some would say wantonly so, by Giovanni Trapattoni.

He admired what Reid and ‘Wezzo’ could do with the ball, but worried about when they would give it away, knowing that a lost possession in midfield usually, in international football, ends up in your net ten seconds later.

But Trap would have loved Tadic. He never wasted a ball during a first half midfield masterclass of control and passing and probing and leading his team forward in Dublin last night. But without ever committing the old Italian maestro’s mortal sin of giving the ball away.

Tadic plays for Ajax. He could be playing for Liverpool, Real Madrid or either of the two Milan giants, they have all asked about buying him over the last four years. But the Serb loves life in Amsterdam and Dutch football in general, and is happy there having been voted Player of the Year last season in their top Division.

He’s just what Ireland lack right now as we reflect on another international night when our midfielders and forwards struggled to do anything. They were game, they tried hard, but there was no end product in the form of a goal. Instead we had to rely on the good fortune of the ball cannoning off the back off Nikola Milenkovic to get the draw.

Ireland’s players are trying, manager Stephen Kenny is trying, but nothing good is going to happen to the Irish football team until our own Tadic emerges from somewhere. From the Under-21 team, from the depths of an English club struggling for a bit of inspiration, from the League of Ireland, from anywhere.

And preferably that player will be accompanied into the Irish senior squad by someone with a vague resemblance to Robbie Keane.

We’re not asking for a player who will score 68 goals in a green shirt, that’ll never happen again. Just someone who might get 20 over a decent career. That would do. Two such players would make a huge difference to a team struggling for traction.

You see we’ll never qualify for anything again while relying on centre-halves and OG’s for our goals. We need a Tadic – and he’s nowhere in sight.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Top Videos





Privacy