Former Oxford United, Liverpool, Real Sociedad and Tranmere Rovers striker John Aldridge played a total of 69 times for Ireland between 1986 and 1996 scoring a total of 19 goals for his country as well as playing in the the Euro' 88 finals in West Germany and the World Cup finals of Italia '90 and USA '94.
But it was only in his 15th international in the 4-0 victory against Tunisia in a friendly at Lansdowne Road on October 19,1988 that he opened his scoring account after 1,738 minutes of international football.
Manager Jack Charlton never lost faith with the popular Scouser who was asked to close down defenders and follow the ball into the corners when it was played into the space behind the full back. The plan was a huge success and despite Aldridge's lack of goals, his role was a crucial factor.
It was not until November 1989 that Aldridge scored again in his 28th international, nabbing both goals in the 2-0 victory over Malta in the World cup qualifier at Ta'Qali Stadium in Valetta. But the long wait was worthwhile as it was that victory made possible for the man now playing with Real Sociedad which guaranteed Ireland a place in the World Cup finals the following summer.
Back in 1988, Aldridge scored 26 goals in 36 league games to earn Liverpool the then First Division title before the £1 million pound move to Real Sociedad the following year. Perhaps the fact that he only started playing international football as a 27 year old was one of the main reasons why his career was so prolonged.
His most important game for Ireland came during the 1994 USA World Cup finals in the match against Mexico in Orlando. With Ireland trailing 2-0 Aldridge was all set to replace Tommy Coyne as a substitute until the officials intervened to prevent him doing so until an administrative hitch had been resolved.
Aldo lambasted the FIFA man and after a six minute delay, during which time Ireland were down to ten men, he was eventually allowed onto the pitch. Some 16 minutes after entering the fray, an intensely fired-up Aldo scored with a perfect header which was to prove decisive in Ireland advancing to the second round of the competition.