Trapattoni’s Ireland reign a success, declares Holland
Ex-Ireland international Matt Holland is full of praise for Giovanni Trapattoni ahead of play-off second leg
Matt Holland has heaped praise on Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni ahead of the Euro 2012 play-off second leg against Estonia on Tuesday.
Ireland thrashed nine-man Estonia 4-0 in the first leg in Tallinn to all but secure their place at next summer’s European championships.
And the former Ireland international believes Trapattoni has done an excellent job in making the Men in Green one of the toughest teams to beat in Europe – they have conceded once in their last 10 games.
“People have criticised him when the results have been good in the last campaign and we all know what happened against France in the end,” Holland told The Sport Review.
“But actually when you look at it and the players he has had at his disposal, we’ve been difficult to beat and we’ve only lost one game this campaign to Russia – and we’ve only conceded one goal in the last 10 games.
“I think a lot of fans would like to see a more expansive style of play but at the same time it has been 10 years since we last qualified for a major tournament – and if he achieves that you have to say what he has done with Ireland has been a success.”
And the former Charlton Athletic midfielder, capped 49 times by Ireland, believes the current crop of players at Trapattoni’s disposal are good enough to cut it at the top level.
“We can do well at Euro 2012,” he said. “I certainly think there is still a lot of talent in the squad.
“There are areas of the squad we can improve on but we have good experience. The players believe in what they are being asked to do.
“[Scoring] goals is the biggest problem in the team at the moment. But ultimately we have a good set of players and a good spirit, which is crucial.”
With Robbie Keane, Richard Dunne and Shay Given entering the twilight of their international careers, Holland remains confident Ireland’s future is bright.
“These things go in cycles and there will be players that come through that prove themselves to be leaders,” Holland added.
“Sometimes youngsters can be in the shadow of more experienced players and when they go, they can flourish.
“Hopefully, if and when the likes of Shay, Robbie, Richard decide to retire, some of the younger ones who come through.
“You have to say results over the past two or three years have been good, and ultimately to qualify for the Euros is a great achievement.”
Read Matt’s thoughts on the npower Championship each week in his Football League blog at www.football-league.co.uk