Fahey and Foley face fitness race as preparations for Poland kick off

Paul Hyland

GIOVANNI Trapattoni kicked off Ireland's Euro 2012 preparations with a mild slap on the wrist for John O'Shea who he believes put his body on the line for Sunderland unneccessarily on the last day of the season.

"I spoke to John and he said his injury is not bad. The scan did not show a problem. But he had this little injury before the game and it was silly, silly, silly. It was a bit naive to play. Sunderland were safe," said Trapattoni after his first training stint in Gannon Park.

It was more a grandfatherly than grumpy response to O'Shea's injury scare and Trapattoni is happy that O'Shea and the two men who did least in training, Keith Fahey and Kevin Foley, will be fit in time.

"I brought this group in early to assess the fitness of some players. We have seen different players who need to be checked. Foley and Fahey have a little bit of an injury but the doctor says in 10 days they will be fit.

"They have this opportunity and it was important to have this check. They could have stayed in their clubs but we prefer to see them up close."

Trapattoni is still holding out the possibility that he could make some changes during the course of the tournament, which is as much about keeping the fringe men motivated as anything else.

"In this tournament we will play three games in a short time and that's the reason it is important to have the players together for a long time. I may need to change players every three days but I have no concerns about that.

"We changed five players in the friendly against Italy in Liege and it did not impact on the team. The shape was the same and this is very important."

James McClean appears to be Trapattoni's top priority in the next few days, and from this we can hope that his rapid assimilation and grounding in the team system has a purpose, which is about the here and now rather than the qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"McClean plays well for his club and we have seen this many times. But we have a system and he is only starting with us. What we will ask him to do is different from his club. He can give us more support. He's strong, his personality is strong but only by exercise and repetition can he know. Then he will understand what I want."

Trapattoni will leave no stone unturned in his quest for detail on Ireland's three Euro 2012 opponents, and while he has sent out scouts to watch all three nations in action before the action kicks off in Poland, he only truly trusts his own senses.

"I will send two to see Croatia. I trust my scouts but I prefer to trust myself," he said with a laugh. "I have watched 35 DVDs of Spain, Italy and Croatia. All their games, competitive and friendly.

"I want to be able to give my players every single detail I can about the teams and the players they will meet. I want to give them everything."