Tuesday, 18 March 2008
From the beginning I have been sceptical about Nigel Worthington as Northern Ireland manager, but in the wake of his latest squad announcement I am throwing all ambivalence to the wind and pleading – JUST GO WORTHLESS! In order to ingratiate himself (and re-ingratiate the IFA) with Linfield and their rabble of supporters, Worthless has picked no less than three of their players in his squad to play Georgia next week. No other Irish League players are selected. Dean Shiels, Grant McCann, Tony Capaldi and Ivan Sproule, successful players in fulltime leagues are all omitted. Shiels is playing regularly and scoring regularly for Scotland’s third best side yet still Peter Thompson is preferred, despite repeatedly looking out of his depth when previously capped. Grant McCann has played well for Northern Ireland in the past and has posed a potent goal-threat, he scored at the weekend for Scunthorpe – Michael Gault is in the squad ahead of McCann. Tony Capaldi looks forward to an F.A. Cup semi-final at Wembley as a pivotal part of Cardiff City’s high-flying Championship side and Ivan Sproule continues to impress at Bristol City. Each of these players has a far sounder case for inclusion and plays at a far higher level than the Linfield triumvirate. This is a shameful decision. For the first time since I first attended a Northern Ireland game in 1985 I wonder whether I actually want to be at Windsor Park next week at all.