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I see myself as Irish and cheer for Boys in Green - Trap's translator Manuela

IT is 'Ireland abu' for Trap's translator as Manuela Spinelli considers herself to be fully Irish.

The woman behind the manager is here to stay, the Herald can reveal.

As Ireland prepare for their crunch World Cup qualifier against Germany, Manuela told the Herald: "Ireland abu. It has been home for 20 years, I feel at home here.

"I certainly consider it as a second home, I have a lot of friends here. In a way I am Italian to the Irish and Irish to the Italian."

And Irish football fans will be able to see a whole new side to the translator tonight when she stars in an RTE show. She has stepped into the breach after comedienne Maeve Higgins abandoned the TV show Instrumental.

She had only a matter of weeks to master the cello after Maeve suddenly dropped out of the programme.

And while nerves will be an issue, Manuela is confident she can keep her stage fright in check.

"Nothing was scarier than the very first press conference I had to do with Giovanni (Trapattoni)," she told the Herald.

"I learned to isolate myself after that.

"I obviously am anxious playing on a stage but for me the most difficult part is actually managing the instrument.

"But if I'm on a stage, I can zone out."

Manuela said that she approached the musical instrument as if she were learning another language.

"I have no musical note in my body.


"Now I speak English, Italian and a bit of music." But despite being a regular at FAI press conferences, she still finds being in front of the camera a painful experience. "I have absolutely loved learning the instrument. But I don't enjoy being in front of a camera.

"The filming side of things, can be quite intense and frustrating at times. But the whole learning process has been amazing.

"Until now, I never really wanted to do something like this but I really liked the project and the idea of learning the instrument."

But Manuela said that she is prepared to keep an open mind and even took a piece of advice from Trapattoni.

"As the boss always says 'Never say never'," she said.

"In the end I wouldn't want to be on TV for the sake of being on TV."

Manuela shies away from the idea of being a celebrity.

"I am just very grounded and my feet are very firmly on the ground, but if there was an opportunity, I would look at it. But you won't see me on TV eating bugs."

Instrumental airs tonight on RTE One at 7.00pm.