The mystery of the talented young striker missing from the Irish squad: Anthony Stokes doubles up for Celtic

Did you know there is a naturally gifted, goal poaching 22 year old Irish kid that made the net bulge every second game in the Scottish Premiership last season? He is now banging in the goals for legendary Scottish club Celtic, and looks in the best form of his (short) life. Does Irish manager Giovanni Trappatoni know?

22 goals in 40 games - that's decent by any calculations

Last night Celtic made it into the semi-finals of the Scottish League Cup largely on the back of Anthony Stokes, who scored twice. Last season Stokes scored a superb 22 goals in 40 games for Hibernian.

Meanwhile, he (along with a host of others) remains on the outside looking in to the Irish team. He has been called into the squad a couple of times in the last two years but has barely seen any game time. With all due respect to the likes of Shane Long and Andy Keogh, how on earth is a natural goalscorer, who is riding the crest of a fantastic goalscoring spree in Scotland, not playing up front for Ireland?

Most grievously, how were Ireland, chasing a winning goal recently in Zilina, left with only one recognised attacking option (Andy Keogh) off the bench, alongside a bevvy of defenders and one midfielder? How on earth do you leave a player of Stokes talent, skill and goal scoring ability out of the squad that night?

Only one man can answer that question, and considering Giovanni Trappatoni's refusal to take a look at the gifted James McCarthy, his refusal to bury the hatchet with Andy Reid and his stubborn refusal to even look at young, upward trending players like Marc Wilson, Stephen Ward, Seamus Coleman and Jon Walters, it doesn't look like any answer will be forthcoming, any time soon.

All Stokes can do is keep banging in the goals, and hope that playing for a big club like Celtic can improve his chances of being called into the side and actually playing meaningful minutes for Ireland.

All us Irish fans can do, is hope Trappatoni wakes up and smells the proverbial coffee.

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