independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Trapattoni: I was right not to take Seamus Coleman to Euros

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has no regrets about leaving Seamus Coleman out of his Euro 2012 squad despite the Everton man's starring performances for Ireland this month.

The Donegal native missed the cut for Poland but has forged his way into the starting team for the World Cup qualifiers, with injuries originally opening the door for the ex- Sligo Rovers man.

Trapattoni (right) has confirmed that Coleman will be his first-choice right-back when the March double-header with Sweden and Austria comes around.

However, the 73-year-old stands by the thought process that led to the composition of his final squad for the European Championships, insisting that it was right to stick with the players who had brought Ireland to the finals.

"For me, it was not right to change this group," he said. "There was not a signal before the Euros. Now, it's good for us that we have this defender."

The Ireland boss made reference to John O'Shea's injury problems before the finals, adding that he then needed to bring in a defender who could also cover centre-half.

It was that decision which edged Kevin Foley out at the last minute to make room for Paul McShane. Coleman was not on the radar at that point, and had minimal experience at right-back with Everton until this season.

However, he was the best player on the pitch in Ireland's 1-0 loss to Greece on Tuesday night, and the Italian is delighted to have a full-back with attacking prowess.

"We had one in my first year here, we must remember Steve Finnan," he said. "He tried to play football near the box, beautiful football, but he got a little bit older."

Coleman's promotion means that John O'Shea will have to fight for a place elsewhere in the defence if Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger are fit for March.

Trapattoni mentioned O'Shea as a possible left-back, although Marc Wilson should have recovered from his leg break by then. Ciaran Clark also used the Greece game to make a strong case for inclusion in the centre of defence.

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