Spotlight: Simon Cox
Last week, we did a feature on FC Utrecht’s Barry Maguire, a Dutch under-19 international who originally played with the Ireland youths before deciding to change allegiances to the country of his birth. Since then however, he has reaffirmed his interest in representing the Republic of Ireland at senior level. Jack Charlton was an avid supporter of the grandparent rule, and West Brom’s Simon Cox is another such player who has expressed an interest in playing for Ireland via his ancestors.
In December, Simon Cox was interviewed by the News of the World, and told of his eligibility to play for Ireland through his Galway-born grandmother. “If Giovanni Trapattoni or anyone from the FAI gave me a call then the first thing I’d say would be ‘yes, I’d be delighted to come on board’. When I was at Reading, I regularly told Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunt about my availability. We didn’t go into huge detail about it – because it’s not their responsibility to pick the team.
“But they know – and hopefully Mr Trapattoni knows – that if a call is made that I’d give a positive response. I don’t want to be cheeky about it and force the issue because ultimately it is the manager’s decision. It’s important to be respectful about a situation like this. I’d be very proud to get the chance – not just for me but also my Nan, who I’m very close to.”
Cox is only 23, but has already scored 55 league goals in his career so far. He began his career as a trainee for Reading, going out on loan to Brentford and Northampton. He next when on loan to Swindon, where he impressed enough to gain a £200,000 permanent move. He scored 46 goals in all competitions for Swindon, playing a total of 88 games. This caught the attention of West Bromwich Albion, who forked out £1.6 million for his services.
Since joining the Baggies, he has won promotion to the Premier League, scoring 9 goals in the Championship last season. His first goal of the 2010-11 season came last night against Man City in the League Cup, scoring the winner to put WBA through to the fourth round.
Although yet to represent Ireland at any level, his statement of intent last December could give Giovanni Trapattoni some alternatives up front. Perhaps it would be a good idea to give both Cox and Maguire runs-out against Norway in the November friendly.