GIOVANNI Trapattoni has become embroiled in yet another row with Stephen Kelly stating that he was “shocked and disgusted” with the Italian’s comments on his commitment to the green jersey.
Trapattoni insinuated yesterday that Kelly did not want to travel for international duty unless he was going to play.
“You know what happened in the situation with Kelly? ‘I play or I go home’,” Trapattoni said.
The Reading defender, capped 32 times for his country, lashed out at the 73 year old’s comments in a statement released this morning and reaffirmed his commitment to the Irish cause.
“It is extremely disappointing for me to have to make this statement. I am simply shocked and disgusted with the untrue and unwarranted comments made by Giovanni Trapattoni,” he said.
“These hurtful and untrue comments have caused distress and upset to myself and my family who have supported me throughout my career and know the level of commitment and passion I have always shown in representing my country.
“I have proudly represented Ireland from the age of 16, and I have never shown anything other than 100% commitment to my country and my team.
“I cannot and will not tolerate attempts to defame my commitment and loyalty to Ireland.
“Representing Ireland at senior international level has given me some of my proudest moments in my professional career, and for me captaining my country will always be my greatest achievement.
“It saddens me greatly that I should have to defend my good character and reputation in a profession I love, however, I refuse to allow anyone to question my passion for representing Ireland.
“I will continue as always to proudly be available for my country.”
There were raised eyebrows when Kelly was omitted from the squad to take on Poland in Wednesday night’s friendly but it appears as though the defender has fallen out of favour since his row with assistant boss Marco Tardelli prior to the world cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands last October.
The two became involved in an argument at the end of a training session as the players - beaten 6-1 by Germany on Friday - prepared to take on the Faroe Islands in another World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.
Kelly, who did not play in the Germany humiliation, was reportedly ready to refuse to board the team plane to the Faroes until Trapattoni, along with other Republic officials, stepped in to calm tensions.
Kelly’s Reading team mate Ian Harte this week brandished Trap a “clown” and accused him of not knowing he was Irish.
The veteran Reading defender, who has been in fine form for the Premier League side in recent weeks, made the claim on twitter after receiving lots of positive feedback for his hand in Jimmy Kebe’s winning goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sunderland.
“To all the people asking if I have retired from international football. no I haven't trap didn't even know I was Irish #whataclown,” the 35 year old Drogheda native said.