Giovanni Trapattoni has dropped the strongest hint yet that he is considering abandoning his 4-4-2 system in favour of a lone man up front and three in the middle. Speaking at his press conference in Carrick-on-Shannon yesterday to announce his squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands and the friendlies against England, Georgia and Spain, the The Irish Examiner report that Trap said "The England game will be important for the new system. I think we play one and five." As ever with Trappatoni there is a considerable amount of reading between the lines necessary, but it seems he favours Hoolahan playing behind Long with possibly Pilkington playing on the wing against England. He claimed he could not play this system before as Duff and McGeady could not provide the goals that a player like Pilkington could.
Pilkington is set to get married after the England friendly and would have to interrupt his honeymoon to play in the qualifier against the Faroe Islands. Modern family man Trapattoni dropped a not very subtle hint about about his feelings: "Four days after my wedding I played the semi-final of the cup. But at this moment he has the problem with the wife."
He also praised FA Cup winner James McCarthy, with goal.com reporting him as saying "He has great vision, strong character and has the potential to one day be like the great English players like Carrick", although Trap possibly thought that this was some sort of elaborate compliment to Carrick-on-Shannon.
This represents a complete U-turn from Trapattoni's attitude before the Sweden game, when he suggested to The Irish Times that playing Hoolahan was tantamount to an admission of fear, when he said "we have seen him many times for his club and he always plays well, but...it is different and we cannot let the opponents think that we are afraid."
Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy, Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE