Friday 9 December 2016

Best 'baffled and confused' by snub

Published 31/10/2011 | 05:00

LEON BEST has admitted that he was "baffled" and "confused" after being left out of the Ireland squad for the Euro 2012 play-off with Estonia.

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And the Newcastle striker has encouraged Giovanni Trapattoni to pick up the phone and speak to his employers if he has reservations about his work-rate.

The in-form frontman, who will line out against Stoke this evening if he has shaken off a bout of tonsillitis, is aggrieved to miss out on the squad for the showdown with the Baltic nation, although Trapattoni did indicate that Best would come into the reckoning if Shane Long is a confirmed absentee.

However, the 25-year-old striker has been more interested in recent newspaper comments from the Italian about his aptitude. The Irish boss suggested that Best needs to work harder for the team.

"Every time it's mentioned, it baffles me," Best said. "He only needs to ring up Newcastle and ask for my stats.

"The ProZone will tell you I'm doing nearly 10km a game. I don't know what it is. If he's saying I need to work harder, then I need to work harder. He's a man to learn off, he's got the experience and he knows what he wants."

Last week, Best revealed that it's been so long since he has heard from the Irish camp that when he rang a member of staff to enquire about the situation -- Pat Costello from the international department -- he didn't realise that he no longer worked for the FAI.

"I haven't got anyone's number apart from the security, and I don't feel I'm in a position to ring Trapattoni and start asking him why he's not picked me," continued the Nottingham-born target-man, who spent part of his youth in Dublin.

"It doesn't upset me really because I'm enjoying playing for Newcastle so much because it's the best point of my career. I'm delighted playing every week in front of 50,000 fans.

"But it's just made me step back and think, what's gone on here? What have I done wrong? What do I need to do? I was getting in the squad when I was in the Championship and not playing every week. It's totally baffled me, confused me."

Irish Independent

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