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Liam Brady
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    Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 7:09am

Ward enjoys home comforts

By Miguel Delaney

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WHEN Jack Charlton first took over the Irish squad, he realised there was an immediate problem for team spirit.

As soon as training finished in Dublin, the Irish-born boys would immediately depart for all corners of the country to visit their families — which left the English natives "twiddling their thumbs".

You get the feeling that wouldn’t quite be a problem with Stephen Ward if the same practice was in place now though. His family home is a couple of minutes away from the team’s base in Malahide.

And that has naturally meant more than a few visits from the clan.

"My ma nips down to the hotel more than I go up to see her," he says.

The sight of Mrs Ward coming down to visit her emigrant son is one the Irish squad might become accustomed to. Because, after two years of having his fine Wolves form overlooked, Ward appears to have very quickly become a fixture in the squad.

On Monday, Giovanni Trapattoni hinted about deploying the versatile Wolves man in midfield in the future.

But Ward, of course, "would play anywhere".

"I played there for Wolves. I’ve played most positions for Wolves. Right-back and in goals are the only two I have not. So I’m a Jack of all trades I think."

In spite of that, there is one very specific long-standing role which Ward can now justifiably target. With Kevin Kilbane’s long service at left-back eventually going to have to end some time, the Premier League regular is ideally placed to claim the position. Starting tonight against Croatia.

"Left-back is definitely my number one. Yes, of course you want to make yourself an option. For me, this season, it’s important that I get off to a good start. If I can nail down that spot for Wolves and play left-back regularly in the Premier League, then that is the only way to be a success like Kevin.

"First and foremost I am in the squad so I want to do as well as I can and make sure the manager knows I am an option. If I can do that, then hopefully I can stake my claim in that position. But I am under no illusions. Kevin has been fantastic and you cannot buy that experience in these types of games.

"Things can change in football. You’ve got to make sure you’re there, work as hard as you can.

"If Kevin doesn’t play, you’ve got to let the manager know he can trust you to throw you in."

Ward certainly gave that impression on his debut against Northern Ireland in May, scoring and putting in a fine performance.

And that was all the more impressive given the breathless last-day survival he endured with Wolves two days before.

"I went into the Ireland games on a high after staying up so for me it was just nice to be there and to keep playing.

"People were trying to keep things calm (at Wolves) but it was tense. Every game was vital and we were running out of them. I don’t think our fans would forgive us if we did it like that again. Although it was tough, I think it will stand to us. With signings we’ve made, we are a stronger side this year.

"Mick (McCarthy) is probably the happiest he’s been with the squad of players. We’ve had a good pre-season.

"Kevin (Doyle) looks fit and strong. It was a loss not to have him but he looks fully recovered."

And Ward himself now looks fully immersed in the international set-up. Like a home from home.

Irish Examiner
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Liam Brady
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wrestler313 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 9:45am
Really rate him, good article. Hopefully he does well tonight and starts next month!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Green Devil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 9:56am
Originally posted by wrestler313 wrestler313 wrote:

Really rate him, good article. Hopefully he does well tonight and starts next month!
 
Spot on....
 
He's proved himself in the EPL , now lets hope Trap trusts him at LB when the qualifiers come around
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote traphasntaclue2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 1:25pm
please have a stormer tonite
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ericdogg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 5:27pm

Had a very good game defensively. Was one of the better players for Ireland tonite

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sloop John G Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 5:35pm
Agreed. 5th good game for Ireland in a row. He's already had more good games for Ireland than Kilbane.





I'm exaggerating but my point stands. Everyone has seen enough to know that Ward should start next month.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sono Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 5:35pm
If he changes is surname to Kilbane he will be a banker to start! Wink
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote traphasntaclue2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 5:42pm
if trap doesnt pick ward to start v slovakia id rather he left the position vacant rather than play goofey!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ericdogg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 5:46pm
Right now he is the closest thing we have to a natural left back in the squad so really should get the nod at least against slovakia. I think he impressed Trap tonite meself
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Trapcandoit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 5:47pm
Good game Stephen- Man of the Match tonight and will be so again many timesClapClap
5 goals to go Robbie!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sono Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 5:56pm
If he played well tonight and was MOTM then Trap needs to be strongly considering him as a starter from now on, no excuses lads, if he is proving his worth then he should be starting.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IrishPride Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 7:03pm
He would be my choice at lb. Forms a good partnership with hunty which is no doubt helped by them playing at the same club. McGeady will prob be in for hunt though against slovakia but that shouldnt hinder wards performance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dotts101 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 7:31pm
ledge prob my motm but well played ward and shud be lb against slovaks
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rolo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 8:37pm
He shud be lb against Slovakia. That was the case before tonite, and it certainly is the case now. I reckon its a 50/50 call now. Trap has a decision to make. I think he has been given a welcome selection headache and he appeared pleased that Ward stepped up to the mark tonight. He's been noncommittal in his remarks about Kilbane this week, but its still a 50/50 call I'd say. Trap makes a lot of his decisions based on what he sees on the training ground and imo he'll make the call about lb at the last possible moment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JH91 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Aug 2011 at 10:47pm
As much as I love Wardy, I thought he was poor tonight.
Good few slack passes and caught of position a few times.
Very good in the air though and two good clearences off his far post.
Seemed to drop deep a bit when Croatia had the ball out wide and let St Ledger press(dunno if that was tactics or not)
Interesting to see who will start against Slovakia. Can't see Wardy playing away to Russia so expect to see Kilbane in for the two.

Edited by JH91 - 10 Aug 2011 at 10:47pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote horsebox Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2011 at 2:34am

I didnt think he had a great game this evening, gave the ball away and got caught out a few times. However a lot of the Irish team played sloppy which maybe down to match fitness.

     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Huggybeer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2011 at 4:48am
Defensively V solid which is the 1st priority for your back line,
But V poor in possession and going forward, keane screaming at him to overlap a few times

id like to see more of clark in that position in the premier league
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stoked Up Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Aug 2011 at 4:58am
At best, little more than a 50/50 call over Kilbane, which is disappointing. 

Of all the candidates Wilson has the best potential for us at LB, but the little fecker needs to start showing up uninjured!

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