Trapattoni: 'I will work until I'm 90'
Ireland's manager is not the retiring type, writes Dion Fanning
Despite the extra workload when Liam Brady departs next month, Giovanni Trapattoni has insisted the Ireland job will not be his last in football by proclaiming he thinks he can work until he is 90.
"It is important to be clear in my head and lucky in my health but I have the enthusiasm. I told my wife about the coach in Oceania who was working when he was 80," said Trapattoni, who will be 71 on St Patrick's Day, and citing Rudi Gutendorf who coached Samoa in 2003 at the age of 77 to insist he has no plans to retire yet.
The demand for his services from other clubs and countries suggests others do not consider him ready for retirement either. Trapattoni confirmed last week he had turned down Juventus and revealed they were the only interested party he had talked to.
"Look, for me this has all been about agents, ringing, saying 'Giovanni, are you interested?' I send them all away except Juve because they are in my heart after so long there. There I talk to the president and the technical manager and say 'no, thank you because I am with Ireland'. But the only one I talked to was Juventus. All the others is just 'somebody wishes me'. That I refuse to discuss."
Instead, he will concentrate on Ireland and maybe, once again, Stephen Ireland, a player who may have the potential to make even Trapattoni think of early retirement. "I am sure in the future I will look for Stephen Ireland again. I will do it slowly and to clarify not because of my words with me and him and an agent."
Trapattoni seems to feel a more private approach might help him in regard to Ireland. The last time he thought efforts to establish a relationship became distorted due to media reports so he will persevere.
Meanwhile, the squad selected for the Brazil game will not be experimental. There will be no return for Andy Reid as the squad that travelled to Paris is rewarded, although the sense remains there is a reluctance to make changes rather than offer a strange bonus to the players devastated by Henry's handball.
In May, there may be a training camp in Portugal or perhaps Dubai and possibly a couple of friendlies in the US.
Trapattoni remains hopeful about qualification for Euro 2012 as his bond with Ireland deepens. "It is a country that I have known for many years, a proud country and a country that has in the past, been poor and gone through hard times and come through them, and it is like my life. I tell my grandchildren and also my son -- in life, it is important what you achieve and what you build because in life, nothing comes free. In Ireland, the people in the country feel like this and also I think the players feel like this."
For Trapattoni, the work continues. "To me, when I wake every morning, I think, what am I going to do, look at this and this player, look at the mistakes of the last week of our players in England and ask why. That is the reason why you look at every situation. For me, I believed in South Africa. I was convinced we could get to the World Cup."
Now he is ready to lead again and for some time. "Until I am 90!" he says. Who would doubt him?