Ireland's Brady ready to queue-jump at Manchester United
Sunday 16 September 2012
As excellent as Robbie Brady was for Ireland on Tuesday, the exciting young winger has not always been quite so assertive.
Take one of the first times he got to mix with Manchester United's megastars. One afternoon at Carrington, Brady was queueing to get lunch, when someone cut in. It was Cristiano Ronaldo, who correctly assumed a novice would just step aside.
As Brady walked off, tray in hand a few moments later than he expected, a watching Alex Ferguson called him over.
"Why did you let him in there?"
"It's Ronaldo boss."
"You're here to take his place son. Don't let me see you do that again."
After a performance against Oman on Tuesday which seemed to justify so much of the expectation about Brady in Ireland, the big question now is whether he can finally claim that place in the United first team.
He is already in a highly distinguished line. Should the Dubliner make an expected first-team appearance this season, he will follow the likes of John Giles and Liam Whelan to become the 11th player from the Republic of Ireland to have graduated through the United youth system to play for both the club's senior side and his country.
Tellingly, Brady has already replicated the career path of more recent names. Like Darron Gibson, and Johnny Evans for Northern Ireland, he has played for his country before his club. No-one doubts Brady's talent, but there is a big difference between applying it in attack for a mid-tier nation like Ireland and for a top-end club like United.
As Brady spoke to the press on Thursday after setting up two goals and scoring an exquisite volley, he admitted he may have to temporarily look elsewhere for club football in order to stay in the international squad. "I have to go back now and speak to the manager. I want to keep on playing [for Ireland] so if that means going on loan I'd love that."
Brady's rise has followed four years of praise for the left-winger at Old Trafford. Yet he has produced only when there is an atmosphere – such as an international debut – and looked less interested during a mixed loan spell at Hull City .
His Ireland Under-21 manager, Noel King, sheds light. "The dilemma for him is whether he's capable of doing it a top club. I think he'd be better with a good team, rather than a poorer team, where the requirements would be different."
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