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Only time will Tel

Terry Venables would make a fine Ireland manager says Tony Cascarino.

Tony Cascarino, 18 Nov 2005

The people who are horrified by the idea of Terry Venables becoming Ireland manager obviously don’t know very much about football, because he’s an excellent coach who’s rated by virtually everybody who’s played under him.

Detractors will point to Terry’s unsuccessful stints at Leeds, Crystal Palace and Portsmouth, but at Elland Road he was lead up the garden path with false promises about not having to sell players, and appeared to take the other two jobs to bankroll his court case against Alan Sugar.

After that, it’s all positive. He was a huge success at Barcelona, got the best out of Gazza at Spurs and took England to within a whisker of winning Euro ’96.

I’ve asked round and keep getting the same answer, which is that if Terry takes the Ireland job it’ll be for the right reasons. His favouring good one-touch football will suit a lot of our lads, and bring the excitement back to the national side that sadly evaporated under Brian Kerr.

He may have had his falling-outs with chairmen, but at no club where he’s managed has there been a split in the dressing room. Rather than scream and shout, he treats his players like men and let’s them have their say in the dressing room.

Liking guys with pace, I imagine he’d have Stephen Elliott in his starting line-up and have an immediate look at Manchester City’s Willow Flood and Stephen Ireland. He would also put a spring in the step of people like Matty Holland and Kevin Kilbane who looked increasingly dejected during the World Cup qualifiers.

Another thing in his favour is that he’s media friendly, and doesn’t allow criticism to get to him like Brian did. Terry’s good mates with Joe Kinnear, so he’ll know all there is to know about the FAI and come into the job with his eyes open.

There’s been talk of him having Stevie Staunton as his number two but, no disrespect to Stan, why would he want to work with somebody he doesn’t know? It’s far more likely that he’d bring in one of his trusted lieutenants like Ted Buxton who’s somebody else players naturally respect.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the bookies that he’s favourite, any FAI shortlist for the Ireland manager’s job would have to include Terry Venables.

Meanwhile, fears people here have about England winning the World Cup would have been heightened by them beating Argentina. For once Sven showed a bit of bravery and ambition going forward, and made substitutions for a reason rather than just giving players another cap.

Wayne Rooney was brilliant and could have had a hat-trick; Steven Gerrard when he eventually went out there showed that he’s the best right-back in England; and Joe Cole terrified their defence with his pace.

On top of that, you had another outstanding performance from Paul Robinson and Peter Crouch demonstrating why, contrary to the opinion of the boo-boys, he’s worth a place on the subs bench.

It wasn’t such a great night for Rio Ferdinand who’ll only get to partner John Terry in Germany next summer if Sol Campbell is injured. For me Rio’s too much of a ball-watching centre-half who lets people drift in behind him. Whatever about his other assets, his basic defending is pretty mediocre.

He’s the sort of player who’s happy with a seven out of 10 rather than the 10 out of 10 that Wayne Rooney always aspires to. Alex Ferguson may have appeared indignant afterwards, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had prior knowledge and approved of Roy Keane having a go at Rio and the other Man U lads who he feels haven’t been justifying their pay packets.

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