Ireland Euro 2012 Squad Preview: Forwards
All this week, GreenScene will be looking at the possible candidates for Giovanni Trapattoni’s 23 man Republic of Ireland Euro 2012 squad. Part Four looks at Ireland’s forward options.
Ireland’s captain and most capped outfielder is a certainty to be on the plane, especially after scoring seven goals in qualifying. Keane has 53 goals in 115 international appearances, and only one player at the tournament has a better haul than him: Miroslav Klose on 63. Three more will take Keane into the top 20 international goalscorers of all time. He’s had a decent start to the season at LA Galaxy, scoring three times and getting two assists.
Played in five of the qualifiers, starting against Slovakia in Dublin, and will battle Kevin Doyle for the right to partner Robbie Keane in Poland and the Ukraine. Scored against Russia in Dublin, and was one of the main reasons for Ireland’s fightback after coming on from the bench. Injury has held him back at West Brom this season, after an impressive start to the 2011-12 campaign.
Started nine of the qualifiers, but missed the first leg of the playoff due to a sending off, Doyle is likely to be chosen as Keane’s partner in Ireland’s opening game with Croatia – a position he has filled for the last three qualifying campaigns. Another player who had a disappointing season, seeing his Wolves side relegated, but Doyle looks to have regained confidence in recent weeks.
Had a good start to the 2011-12 season, scoring five goals for Stoke in the Premier League, as well as netting his first for Ireland – against Estonia in Tallinn. However, his goals dried up in the second half of the season, but he remained a key figure at the Britannia Stadium, and has played in every single league game this season.
Kept out of the WBA team by Long and Peter Odemwingie, Cox still made 16 total appearances, scoring 4 goals this season. His strikerate for Ireland is even better, having scored in his debut against Northern Ireland, and then again in games versus Italy and the Czech Republic. If anything happens to Robbie Keane at Euro 2012, Cox will be expected to fill his shoes.
One of the few players from Steve Staunton’s US Trip that has stayed around the squad, Keogh is often used as a winger by Giovanni Trapattoni. However, his recent excellent form at Millwall has shown he is really a centre-forward, having scored 10 goals in 19 appearances for the Lions. This versatility and form could see him make the squad as a surprise inclusion.
Best’s injury has seen Papiss Cisse replace him up front at Newcastle this season, despite the Irishman having a solid start in the league. His lack of game time recently will also hinder his chances of a return to the Irish setup, with World Cup 2014 qualifying looking like his next opportunity.
Made his debut in the same game as Shane Long under Staunton, but Trapattoni does not rate the Celtic man as highly as Long, especially after Stokes pulled out of a friendly last summer stating “tiredness”. Still only 23, so definitely one for the future.