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Leave Mac alone says Trapattoni

GIOVANNI Trapattoni has begged for in-form Wigan teenager James McCarthy to be left alone to make a final decision on his international future -- for fear that the teenager would become a media circus like Stephen Ireland.

McCarthy has only just turned 19 but already has a huge amount of experience, with over 100 league appearances for Hamilton and Wigan, and he'll be in Premier League action again tonight when Wigan take on Stoke City.

McCarthy's international future has been the subject of intense debate in the last week, as newly-appointed Scotland boss Craig Levein revealed that he had approached the Glasgow-born McCarthy about a possible switch to the Scottish national side, even though McCarthy has been part of the Ireland set-up for three years, winning five U21 caps as well as U17 and U19 honours.

"I had a brief chat with James but I didn't get any encouragement there at all," said Levein about his attempt to land McCarthy for Scotland's European Championship campaign.

Today, McCarthy's manager at Wigan, Roberto Martinez, expressed his belief that the player would stick with Ireland, but Ireland boss Trapattoni this morning appealed for the media and the fans in both Ireland and Scotland to back off and leave the player alone, for fear of creating a furore along the lines of long-time exile Stephen Ireland.

"At the moment, it is better that we do not speak about this," said the Ireland manager. "Do you remember Steve Ireland? The more we speak, the more Steve Ireland go away."

Trapattoni is due to name his squad for the March 2 friendly with Brazil in 13 days' time and while it's certain that some new blood will be introduced to the squad - Wigan man McCarthy and Wolves defender Stephen Ward are due for call-ups - the Irish boss has made it clear there will be no culling of last year's squad.

Meanwhile Martin O'Neill has heaped praise on Irish defender Richard Dunne.

"We got him on transfer deadline day, although we were hoping that the agreement would have gone through maybe a day or two before," he said. "

"I think Richard had a fine career at Manchester City and I don't think you can be at a football club for nine years and not have a real affection for it.

"Maybe we were lucky to get him and maybe if Manchester City had really wanted him then he might have stayed. All I do know is that whatever way it fell for us, luck was on our side."