No regrets and no surprises from Trap
Soccer:The morning after another desperately bad night for Irish football, Giovanni Trapattoni was again sticking to his guns regarding his team selection for the Republic of Ireland’s 2-0 defeat to Italy as the side bowed out of the Euro 2012 finals without so much as a point to their names.
Defeats to Croatia (3-1), Spain (4-0) and now Italy represented Ireland’s worst performance at a major finals by some stretch but the Italian was adamant this morning that the players on the pitch were the right ones for the job at hand.
The Ireland manager has come in for increasing criticism for his refusal to adhere from a rigid tactical straight-jacket and, perhaps more pertinently, a stubborn loyalty to the men that got Ireland to these finals.
Goalkeeper Shay Given, 36, and 31-year-old skipper Robbie Keane, the nation’s two most-capped players, were two of the old guard unable to reproduce their best form in Poland and Ukraine but Trapattoni was in no mood to admit he may have got it wrong with his selections.
“When you do your job well — until now, I think they have played well for our country, and we must have a reason,” he said this morning before the team fly back to Dublin. “In your job, when you get old, if they gave you a pension and say ‘Go‘ without respect, what would you think?
“It’s not loyalty only, it’s correct. We asked them yesterday for a good performance and we played very well. We played at the same level as Italy. We need a reason to change it on the pitch. (Aiden) McGeady played well, (Kevin) Doyle played well, also Robbie.
“It’s not loyalty, it’s respect because they helped us to achieve qualification and we must give them the honour of playing. You are not sure that if you make changes, the result will be any different. It’s 50-50. When you are sure, you can change, but only after the 90 minutes can you be sure that the change is good.
“Until now is has been good, and I can’t just turn the page and forget about it. It’s not professional, it is not correct.”
Keane, Given, Damien Duff and Richard Dunne are among a number of players thought to be considering their international futures and while Trapattoni admitted he had spoken to some players about the issue last night, he was keeping his cards close to his chest this morning.
He said: “I can say the names, but I won’t say the names. I am sure they need to stay with their families, I don’t know. But I said two months ago, it is important for us that these senior players help also the young to gain new experience. That’s life, it is not only football.
“The young are usually arrogant or shy and the senior players help them grow. That is life, it is not only football.”