It seems like Stephen Kenny was under the impression that David McGoldrick was sticking around.
On the face of it, David McGoldrick’s retirement from international duty with Ireland – although a bit sudden – makes a lot of sense.
The Sheffield United striker will be 33 later this month, and with Adam Idah and Troy Parrott tipped for big futures, perhaps he felt the time was right to step aside for the next generation.
McGoldrick is also determined to remain a key part of Chris Wilder’s plans at Sheffield United. While he was a first-team regular last season, the former Nottingham Forest man faces stiff competition for regular starts from Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie.
McGoldrick has found himself on the bench for the Blades’ last two Premier League games, restricted to late cameos in their defeats by Liverpool and Manchester City.
Indeed, it seems as though Stephen Kenny had considered the possibility of McGoldrick calling it quits shortly after replacing Mick McCarthy as Ireland boss.
However, Kenny’s comments ahead of Ireland’s Euro play-off loss to Slovakia appear to suggest that McGoldrick was determined to nail down his place in the new regime.
“He’s very positive about playing for Ireland,” Kenny said via the Irish Sun.
“When I took over, Sheffield United looked like they were going to qualify for Europe meaning extra games. He’s a family man with a good-sized family.
“He’s 32, nearly 33. You wonder whether a player would say, ‘I’ve to focus on my club’. It happens a lot at that age group.
“His relationship with Mick McCarthy, Mick had him at Ipswich and all of that, so when I took over I was wondering in my own head is he going to relax and take a bit of a back seat, focus on club football, particularly with Sheffield United playing in the Premier League.
“That wasn’t what I got from him at all — I got quite the opposite. He was absolutely desperate to play.
“He was just so enthusiastic about playing and really hungry to play.”
Kenny’s understanding – that McGoldrick was ‘desperate’ to play for Ireland – would appear to suggest that the Ireland boss will have been left somewhat blindsided by the striker’s decision to bring the curtain down on his 14-cap international career.
Kenny announces his squad for the upcoming games against England, Wales and Bulgaria on Thursday, so a clearer insight into McGoldrick’s rationale is presumably forthcoming.
With McGoldrick out of the picture, Idah and Parrott have an even clearer pathway into Kenny’s team. If there is a positive to be taken from Wednesday’s surprise announcement, that is surely it.