Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dimitar Berbatov Out For Bulgaria, On Current Form It's a Bad Move For Ireland

With Giovanni Trappatoni worrying over the fitness of Shay Given and Aiden McGeady ahead of Ireland's crucial World Cup Qualifiers against Bulgaria and Italy he was hit with the hammer blow news that Dimitar Berbatov has pulled out of the Bulgaria squad.

The Manchester United striker has failed to deliver on his £30m stg price tag this season and his last few performances in the famous red shirt of United have been abject at best...

Phone in shows have been inundated with irate callers who are calling on Alex Ferguson to axe the Bulgarian hitman and revert to the forward line of Rooney, Tevez, and Ronaldo that terrorised defences all over Europe last season.

With Berbatov in the team, players like Ronaldo, Carrick, Anderson and Rooney have all seen a drop in form as the percieved notion is that the Bulgarian has to be "carried."

Against Fulham last weekend, the striker was anonymous. He never tried an inch throughout the game, and despite picking up the injury that sees him sit out his countries crucial qualifiers, it came as no surprise to see him being removed from action at half time.

With Ireland's next World Cup Qualifier on Saturday being against Bulgaria. And with the nation still on the crest of a wave following the countries Rugby team winning the Six-Nations Rugby tournament and Bernard Dunne winning the WBC Bantam weight world title it was hoped that the striker would have some part to play in Croke Park.

Before the move to Old Trafford Berbatov had scored 41 goals in 67 matches for Bulgaria and in 102 games for Tottenham Hotspur he scored 46 times.

However, since the move his scoring ratio has dropped from 1:2 to 1:3, and whilst his form in Europe has seen him score four times in four games it is his league form that has suffered most.

Red Devils fans have only seen glimpses of his undoubted ability this season most notably a superb turn against West Ham but the fact that such instances have to be dredged up is a sure sign that the Bulgarian is not firing on all cylinders.

Against Italy earlier this year Berbatov was decried by his own supporters after he put in another listless performance and with the Irish riding high in the qualification table many in Ireland had hoped that the ex-Spurs man would play, as he would not have liked the close attendance of Richard Dunne and his team mate at United, John O'Shea.

O'Shea in comparison has grown into one of Manchester United's most dependable characters. After playing in various positions across the back four and midfield the Irishman has become the player that Ferguson turns to to fill the gaps every time.

Since breaking into the United first team in 2001, O'Shea has gone on to register 234 appearances for the Red Devils and now guarantees himself around 30 games a season at Old Trafford every year.

While O'Shea might be happy to stay at Old Trafford when he could move to almost any other Premiership team, he is not the type to sit on his laurels. Besides why should he take the relative drop in standards.

And when many newspapers wondered why he was even at Old Trafford, he knuckled down at proved his worth.

John O'Shea is a United boy, brought up through the ranks. He has seen many world class players come and go at the club, usually it is their attitude that seals their fate.

Is Dimitar Berbatov the next in a long line of high profile players who have found the shadow of Old Trafford and the weight of expectation at the club too heavy a burden?

Only he can answer that.

twitter / WillieGannon