Whether that might facilitate a change in approach remains to be seen but, interestingly, assistant manager Marco Tardelli yesterday conceded that Ireland’s football had been too one-dimensional against Sweden. “Yes sometimes,” he said. “On the pitch we needed to think before we played.”
Asked if he felt the introduction of Wes Hoolahan could have changed things, he replied: “It’s possible. He is a technical player but there is also the match where it is important to be strong physically.
“After the match it’s possible to say everything. The Austrian players are physically strong too but they are also a different team and maybe it’s possible to put him [Hoolahan] on in the second half or in the first half. We decide tomorrow.”
If Giovanni Trapattoni opts to go for like with like, then Paul Green would probably be the leading contender to replace Whelan, with Stephen Quinn having been called up as additional cover despite the competing claims of David Meyler, who had originally been placed on standby.
“We think Quinn is the better option at this moment but also Meyler is a good player. Quinn is a very quick player, a very technical player. I think at this moment we need this player.”
The decision to call up Quinn also means there is no immediate international reprieve for Whelan’s old midfield partner Keith Andrews, who is back playing for Brighton after a long injury lay-off.
Having spoken to the Irish medical staff and assured them of his fitness, Andrews says he is extremely disappointed to have been overlooked again, especially now in the absence of Whelan.
Andrews writes about his disappointment and offers his thoughts on the current plight of Trapattoni and Ireland in tomorrow’s Irish Examiner.