I have to admit, I met the news that Kevin Doyle had been dropped from the squad with mixed feelings. The chap has walked away with FAI Goal of the Year for the past decade, purely because he can score a goal that involves the R1 button. However, he is currently loitering with Wolves in the basement of the Championship, and netted only his first goal since early December last weekend. Trap, it seemed, was finally picking players on form and merit, rather than 'ibble-obble-chocolate-bobble'.
How silly of me. Scrolling through my Twitter feed yesterday, I genuinely performed a double-take at the news that Paul Green had stumbled into the squad. The same lad that was brought along to the Euros when he didn't even have a club. While Green struts out in a truly make or break clash in Stockholm tonight, James Mc Carthy sits on the bench. Mc Carthy who plays regular, Premier League football.
The mind boggles. A midfield of Whelan and Green in a match that could decide Ireland's World Cup qualification, and Trap's job. Whelan is better suited to a rugby team, considering he never passes the ball forward. Green is better suited to Coppers, considering he can't make a pass without causing some sort of damage. No Pilkington or Hoolahan is nothing short of a disgrace.
But is it all bad? Consider this. Paul Green has played 24 games for Leeds this season, meriting four goals. Not bad. One of them was a crucial winner against Zaha-led Crystal Palace. He has a proven track record in man-marking, but surely the international stage is just a step too far for the 29 year-old?
Ireland lie just one point behind Sweden, despite the disastrous drubbing at the hands of Germany a few months ago. WIth the game against Austria on Tuesday night, Ireland's potential qualification truly lies in the next five days. Four points from a possible six would put us in a decent position heading into the home game against the Faroe Islands in June. Anything less, and we're playing catch up with tricky away ties against Germany and Austria still to come.
Truth be told, I think we may have a chance. John O'Shea will play a key role in the isolation and defusion of the threat of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a key battle that must be won if Ireland are to stand any chance of progressing. John O'Shea against the man who scored a 30 yard bicycle-kick... What are we all so worried about?
Prediction: Sweden 3-1 Ireland
Ireland starting XI: D Forde, M Wilson, C Clark, J O'Shea, S Coleman, P Green, G Whelan, R Brady*, J McClean, R Keane, S Long
*At time of publishing, Brady was still being asked nonsensical questions by Trap about whether or not he's 'OK'. Fingers crossed on this one.