Friday 22 November 2019

Daniel McDonnell: Endgame playing out for Trapattoni in the Faroe Islands

Daniel McDonnell in Torshavn

A PEACEFUL morning in the Faroe Islands, with the calm offering a contrast to the mood in the visiting camp.

We have reached the endgame of the Giovanni Trapattoni era. News of the Irish Independent's revelation that the FAI are preparing to part company with the Italian has reached the small number of supporters who have made the journey.

They are encouraged, while filled with a sense of foreboding about the game of football that has to be played here tomorrow.

Victory for Ireland would leave them on six points, with prospects of a second-place finish in a group that Germany are set to dominate. It would be a good situation for the new manager to inherit.

The sense of inevitability about where this regime is going has been added to by the details which have emerged about a disagreement between Fulham defender Stephen Kelly and assistant boss Marco Tardelli. Staff had to intervene to make sure that the Dubliner made the trip to the Faroes.

Kelly is one of the most placid, likeable, grounded individuals in professional football. He is certainly not a hellraiser. Instead, he is frustrated with the manner in which affairs have deteriorated since qualification for Euro 2012.

Poland was the beginning of the end for Trapattoni. The decision to persevere with his original starting XI for the dead rubber with Italy alienated the players that are essential now.

Darron Gibson walked away. In different ways, Shane Long and James McClean have demonstrated their anger. Now Kelly is added to the long list of the disaffected.

In this sleepy part of the world, the locals are aware to what is going on.

They are comparing their brave 2-1 defeat to Sweden last Friday with the Irish surrender at the hands of Germany, and believe that an upset is imminent.

Trapattoni will have a range of queries to deal with when he faces the media at 5pm this evening. He now knows that time is running out.

The players he picks must summon the necessary unity to overcome this hurdle – and then prepare for the overhaul that is required to get this show properly back on the road.

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