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Listen: Brian Kerr Explains Why Lee Trundle Never Got An Ireland Call-Up

Listen: Brian Kerr Explains Why Lee Trundle Never Got An Ireland Call-Up
By Mikey Traynor

You'll have seen Lee Trundle content on Balls.ie many times before, and most of it comes from myself, as I was one of his biggest fans during the height of 'Trundlemania', which also coincided with the peak of Soccer AM.

Lee Trundle was a crowd pleaser, an entertainer, a showman. He did things with the ball that most weren't capable of, and at 15-years-of age that was pretty much all I wanted to see. YouTube was just starting to emerge, and freestyle football clips were all the rage... I had Lee Trundle highlights taking pride-of-place in my Bebo flashbox.

And he qualified for Ireland too. I knew this because he basically issued a 'come and get me plea' on Soccer AM of all places, explaining that he was an Irish fan since he was a boy, and used to wear Ireland jerseys on the streets of Liverpool when he was a lad and all his mates had England tops on.

I was convinced that a Lee Trundle & Robbie Keane strikeforce would, well, not really be that effective, but it would be bloody entertaining, so one time I mitched off school to watch an Ireland open training session in Bray's Carlisle Grounds, and I decided I would do a bit of scouting for the Ireland boss, Brian Kerr. Let him know I'd seen a player.

As Kerr came around signing autographs, I asked him directly... 'Why won't you give Lee Trundle a call up?' His reponse is something I'll never forget, as he looked at me, scoffed, and said...

Have ye seen him play?!

I was devastated. Actually, I wasn't, as I'd just had dialogue with the Republic of Ireland manager and couldn't wait to tell my mates, but my dream of seeing Trundle roll the ball down his back in the middle of a match while wearing an Ireland shirt would never, ever happen.

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And the worst part was, I never knew why. He didn't answer my question, Kerr, he just dismissed it. I knew he was operating in League One at the time, so international football was a bit of a stretch, but I was convinced he could score a few screamers and get the fans off their seats. Why would Kerr not give him a chance?

Now, after roughly 12 years of wondering, I finally have closure. Speaking on Today FM's Premier League Live, Kerr decided to let us all know exactly why Trundle never got the call, following a discussion about his brilliant penalty that went viral last week.

And to be honest, it's entirely fair enough.

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I remember that era because I was the [Ireland] manager at the time, and if my memory serves me right Lee was doing a lot of these... Fancy things and scoring wonderful goals, but it was in division three.

When [Swansea] got promoted, I don't think he was quite as prolific as he went up and Neil [Treacy] was right in his description of his physical condition... He wasn't quite in the right shape to play international football.

He wouldn't have been the speediest chap that ever played centre forward in British football. He promoted himself a couple of times as being eligible for us, but I had a look... And decided 'No'.

I certainly went to one match, I think after that I'd seen enough, I'd watched a fair bit on television, I just thought, look, what I thought I saw on the telly, when I saw it live I said yeah he wasn't quick enough getting around.

But certainly he had magnificent skill, and was capable of some brilliant goals and trickery around the edge of the box for such a big man, he'd a very good touch indeed.

At least he acknowledged his ability to make magic. Trunds is still loved by the Swansea faithful, and I still maintain he would have been great entertainment in an Ireland shirt, even if he was only given a few minutes here or there.

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Instead, the pace of Alan Lee and Gary Doherty was favoured to partner Robbie. In all seriousness, Brian Kerr was hard-done-by as Ireland boss, and his football knowledge is second to none in this country, so I'll accept his reasoning and move on.

You can listen to Kerr's description, and let's be honest, everything Kerr is better when it's coming direct from the man himself, below in the 'World Of Football' section from Today FM's Premier League Live from about 11.35 onwards.

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SEE ALSO: Entertainer, Magician, Icon: A Tribute To Lee Trundle

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