David McGoldrick wrong-foots Irish fans with international retirement
IRISH football has been rocked by striker David McGoldrick’s surprise decision to retire from international football. The 32-year-old, who won just 14 caps over a six-year period with the Republic of Ireland, will be sorely missed as Stephen Kenny’s men look ahead to their 2022 World Cup qualification campaign.
Following Mick McCarthy’s re-appointment in November 2018, McGoldrick was recalled to the international set-up having been out in the cold during Martin O’Neill’s reign.
McGoldrick, who qualified to play for Ireland through his grandfather, made his debut in a friendly game against USA under O’Neill in 2014 but never featured much afterwards.
However, McCarthy relaunched McGoldrick’s international career during the Euro 2020 qualifiers and the classy striker became an indispensable member of the side, scoring a crucial equaliser against Switzerland in Dublin that kept the team’s hopes alive. He was arguably Ireland’s best player during McCarthy’s brief reign and he continued to be vital to Stephen Kenny’s new-look side more recently.
He was Ireland’s best player in their ill-fated penalty shoot-out defeat to Slovakia last month and even though Adam Idah, Troy Parrott and Aaron Connolly are more youthful options, it was felt McGoldrick, who was crowned the country’s player of the year in 2020, would still have a key role to play going forward.
A growing number of injuries and his inability to nail down a regular starting place in Sheffield United’s team are undoubtedly important factors why he’s pulled the pin on his international career.
Just last month, Kenny described how McGoldrick was “desperate” to play for Ireland.
Kenny said: “When I took over, Sheffield United looked like they were going to qualify for Europe, which meant extras games,” said Kenny.
“He’s a family man, a good sized family. He’s 32, nearly 33. You wonder whether a player would say: ‘I’ve to focus on my club’ because it happens a lot at that age group. But that wasn’t what I got from him at all; I got quite the opposite.”
Last weekend, McGoldrick got just nine minutes of game-time in Sheffield United's 1-0 home defeat to Man City.