Giovanni Trapattoni has pinpointed James McCarthy as the man to lead Ireland into the future. The manager believes that the Wigan midfielder can drive Ireland forward on the road to Rio once he builds up his self-confience.
“We persist with him now. He can be the future. There are sometimes shy people who need more time. When I speak with him, he goes red. But if he goes to an important team, his self-belief will grow,’ Trapattoni told the Evening Herald.
The manager feels that McCarthy’s importance to Ireland’s cause is now so important that he is all but guaranteed a starting place for his country. However he cautioned that the 22 year old needs to be playing football in more exalted company than can be found at the DW Stadium.
“He needs to confirm what he can do; he can do 20 per cent, 30 per cent more on the ball. James has the quality to be our conductor. He plays simple, but always immediately.
“At the top level, it’s Champions League, FA Cup, 70 games every year. You need a strong personality and maybe he can complete his growing and reach his physical peak at 25.”
Trapattoni sees McCarthy as the midfield fulcrum in what he describes as Ireland’s more attacking style, beginning with the game against Greece tomorrow night.
“We will play 4-4-1-1 but it will be offensive. We are looking to renew the team with young players like McCarthy but we always follow Wes Hoolahan because he plays well.
“Our system at the moment is that we play two strikers but he is a serious player and he deserves this opportunity. I tried McCarthy behind the striker but now he is better in midfield and we choose two strikers because I think our team needs this to score goals but it’s right to give him this opportunity.”
He remains relentlessly optimistic that Ireland can recover from the damage done by the demoralizing German defeat and qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
“The defeat against Germany was a disaster. It was important we recovered against the Faroes. We believe in our strength and commitment. With this situation we can think, not dream, of achieving qualification.”
He recognises that the process of renewal and transition from the disaster that was Ireland’s experience of Euro 2012 and the humiliation by the Germans has to come in tandem with victories.
“But results give trust and enthusiasm. Managers know that, that they must try the new, young players and at the same moment achieve the result. The team needs new players but the FAI and the team needs results,” Trapattoni added.