Another transfer window closes and Wigan Athletic still manage to hold on to James McCarthy. That can only be good news for my old club and Ireland. He is still only 22 but James has already played 100 Barclays Premier League games and nearly as many with Hamilton Academical. But he did make his debut at 16. Most have been at the wrong end of the division and keeping hold of James was essential for Roberto Martinez as he plots another relegation escape. Wigan haven’t replicated the impressive late form of last season when they stayed up and they’re back in the bottom three.
BBC Sport’s football experts, Alan Shearer, Michael Owen, John Hartson and Kevin Kilbane discuss their thoughts on the January transfer window.
Stoke City striker Owen describes it as “good entertainment” while Shearer, who is the Premier League’s all-time record goal scorer, talks about how exciting the deadline is for fans.
Kilbane, whose former clubs include West Brom, Everton, Sunderland and Wigan, insists the window is “frantic” for a player whereas ex-Arsenal striker Hartson thinks managers “must hate it”.
source: BBC Sport
Ireland will be Ram Raided next month when Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad gathers in Dublin, if Derby County’s three new call-ups survive the final cut. Jeff Hendrick, Connor Sammon and Richard Keogh are in the provisional 27 and that is fantastic recognition for my former club and manager Nigel Clough. In the ten years I was involved with the Ireland squad, too many lads got their call-up, then disappeared from the international scene because they lost their way. The obvious accusation was they thought they’d made it. But they were still learning.
Kevin Kilbane wants Giovanni Trapattoni to go with something old and something new against Poland to beat Ireland’s post-Euro 2012 blues.
Trap will tomorrow name his squad to face the Poles on February 6 — with plenty of uncertainty over who might get the nod. The Italian has suggested that he will leave out some of his squad regulars — as he did for last August’s friendly with Serbia — to run the rule over fringe players. And fans are waiting to see if that means Norwich trio Anthony Pilkington, Wes Hoolahan and Mark Bunn, or Derby’s Richard Keogh, Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon — who have all been watched by Trap recently — get the call.
"You cannot imagine the pressure that was on Robin van Persie's shoulders due to the size of the transfer fee and interest in him from both Manchester clubs, but he has performed superbly, regardless."
"Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea took a huge step to his left and Aaron Lennon should have steered his shot the other way."
"Manchester United have looked to counter throughout. It was a wonderful ball from Tom Cleverley. Aaron Lennon did a great job of tracking back on Danny Welbeck and he had to play it wide to Cleverley. That was United's first chance and it was typical van Persie that it found the back of the net."
"Gareth Bale often goes searching for the ball to try and get involved as teams often double-mark on him. Manchester United will not do that so I think he needs to stay wide and go one-on-one at Rafael."
"It was brilliant play from Mousa Dembele to play in Clint Dempsey, who seemed certain to score there. I just do not think Dempsey could get the ball out of his feet quickly enough."
"I think Steven Caulker has clipped Wayne Rooney's heels once he has got the ball across him, he is a lucky man there. This game is tailor-made for Rooney, he should be able to pick up some great positions in the hole. You would expect him to be the first name on the team-sheet but it is not that way anymore."
"I was speaking to my former Republic of Ireland team-mate Robbie Keane recently and he told me that he has no plans to go on a short-term loan to the Premier League this January from the Los Angeles Galaxy."
"Phil Jones has covered the ground really well for Manchester United and has made some great tackles. He is doing the job in midfield that Michael Carrick was doing well earlier."
"I think it was a poor punch from David De Gea, it was a difficult one for him to deal with, but I thought he should have done a lot better."
"Going back to the Wayne Rooney incident, it was a penalty and I think it will be the talking point as if Manchester United had gone 2-0 up, that would have been it. Spurs put United under pressure at the end, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand were superb at the back for the visitors, but they kept on going and got their reward."
Once again I have to disagree with Kevin in one point: I also watch several football games and as I take much attention on referees I have noticed just the opposite regarding to handballs. Instead of what Kevin might have seen I recognised that referees mostly go with the ‘offender’, i.e. the defender who got the ball on his hands. It’s also interesting that Roy Keane said yesterday that Wayne Rooney had taken his last penalty for Manchester United. We will see who’ll be right!
Anyone who remembers my penalty miss in the World Cup Finals shoot-out against Spain will not be surprised to read I was never a designated penalty taker at my clubs. I can still remember the actual penalty that night in Suwon vividly. The walk-up is a blur, I can’t recall what was going through my head. But I do remember the strike and I remember the save. And the agony and regret will never go. We’d practised penalties virtually every day after training. Mick McCarthy never made us do it because his own feeling was it wouldn’t make any difference if we did get to a shoot-out but it’s always a good way to end a session.
Kevin Kilbane was in Galway on Tuesday to mark the launch of the newly-rebranded Macron Galway Cup. Formerly the Umbro Galway Cup, the prestigious under-age tournament is entering its ninth year and brings teams from across the world to Drom Soccer Park – the home of Salthill Devon.
From an office overlooking the four pristine playing surfaces used for the competition, the former Ireland international spoke about the current state of the national side under Giovanni Trapattoni as well as his belief in the importance of developing young talent.
Kevin Kilbane says Giovanni Trapattoni must now consider dropping Robbie Keane — as Shane Long deserves to be the leading man for Ireland.
Trap’s side enter 2013 with their World Cup qualification hopes in the balance ahead of March’s visit to Stockholm to face play-off rivals Sweden. And former international star Kilbane believes Keane, 32, who he won many of his 110 caps alongside, is no longer Ireland’s top dog. Instead, he reckons that West Brom striker Long is ready for centre stage.