Tuesday 6 December 2016

Kerr unimpressed by Trapattoni's armchair approach

Published 06/08/2011 | 05:00

Brian Kerr has expressed his amazement at Giovanni Trapattoni's capacity to behave like an absentee landlord while managing the Irish team.

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The former Ireland boss, whose contract was not renewed after the 2006 World Cup qualification campaign, is baffled by the FAI's reluctance to take the Italian to task for his continued policy of studying the form of his international squad from the comfort of his sitting-room sofa rather than the directors boxes of England's Premier League and Championship grounds.

Since accepting the post in 2008, Trapattoni's work ethic has repeatedly been called into question -- not least because of his sizeable €1.7m per-annum salary -- and now Kerr, whose Faroese team will meet Ireland in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, has joined the list of critics.

"While I've no axe to grind with Giovanni Trapattoni or the job he is doing, what I find strange is his virtual non-attendance at matches in England," he said.

"I don't know how he gets away with that. Nor can I understand what he is doing for the grass-roots in Ireland.

"One appearance at a St Pat's match last year is in no way a return for the effort League of Ireland and schoolboy clubs put in.

"His concern seems solely to do with the senior team. And there, he has done reasonably well, although tactically, while I was criticised for being conservative, I feel the players now are constricted within their freedom to press forward under his regime.

"Plus, I feel he made a mistake, after getting the job when he said we would qualify for the World Cup.

"This wasn't Italy, who always qualify with a fair degree of ease, he was talking about. This was a country with limited resources. He showed a misunderstanding of our situation.

"Yet so be it. He has got the team into a position where they can push on and qualify for the Euros and I hope they do so.

"Similarly, when we play them next year, I'd like to win the game but once it is over, I hope Ireland go on to Brazil."

That is, of course, if Kerr is still in charge of the Faroes: "My contract is up at the end of the campaign and I'd like to stay. I think they would like me to stay too."

Should he do so then a reunion with the FAI is on the cards, with the 58-year-old Dubliner insisting he is more than prepared to forget about national pride for 180 minutes.

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"I'd love to get one over the FAI," he said. "Put it this way, if I could lose a few years, get fit and somehow find myself a Faroese passport, then it would be a match I would love to play in.

"But for me, it is about being professional. People who know me would respect me for wanting to win the game, irrespective of the fact it is against my country.

"And for those who think I haven't a clue, well it would be nice to prove something to them too.

"But realistically, the fact I know the Irish players inside out cannot disguise the fact they are playing at a much higher level than us.

"Yet these are matches I'm aiming to win. What happened in 2005 belongs to the past but I still remember how unpleasant it was to have put so much time into the FAI -- 14 years in two spells -- and for it all to end by a letter.

"In his press conference to announce my departure, John Delaney justified the decision on the basis that we failed to qualify for the World Cup and had slid down the FIFA rankings.

"To the best of my knowledge, we didn't qualify for the last tournament either and are lower in the rankings than when I left.

"But so be it, it served as an excuse to get rid of me.

"Good luck to them. I've moved on."

Irish Independent

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