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McClean the fall guy in Trap plan


Republic of Ireland's James McClean. Picture: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland's James McClean. Picture: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland's James McClean. Picture: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

JAMES McClean is the big loser in Giovanni Trapattoni's plan to radically improve Ireland's goal difference against the Faroe Islands at the Aviva Stadium tonight.

Trapattoni's decision to start Simon Cox as the nominal left-winger indicates that McClean has a distance to travel to convince his international manager that he should be first choice.

"In this game, it is important to try all that is possible to win. We can change McGeady right and Cox/Walters left. It means we have a third, more offensive player, different than a striker.

"McClean couldn't play on the right. Walters can play right, McGeady can play right and Cox can play right," said Trapattoni.

Although confusing, Trapattoni's message is simple enough. Cox, Walters and McGeady can switch wings and McClean (pictured), apparently, cannot.

"After 30 minutes and we haven't scored a goal, I can change this situation. We have to do what is possible to achieve the result.

"In Italy, we have a system which is different than England and many, many teams played it. On the right or left, they are strikers and they have the habit to go inside when the ball is right. They become another striker.

"In England, the winger make a cross. We need someone to go in goal. Go inside and score a goal," he said.

Wes Hoolahan's inclusion didn't inspire Trapattoni to any great heights of praise but instead produced a history lesson.

"If you remember, I said we follow him for two years. We had the play-off in France and qualification for Euro 2012 with (Glenn) Whelan and (Keith) Andrews.

"We have always known his creative quality. We try the new generation in this position.

"Wes is fantastic in the last pass, his experience.

"He passes quickly. He is not shy and has a good personality."

Trapattoni doffed his hat to Robbie Keane on the eve of his 126-cap record-breaking appearance.

"His goals bear witness to his quality. Strikers have the smell for goals and Robbie has had that since I saw him in Inter when he was 18," he said.

"He is a little bit older now and there are players who love their football more and more as they grow older. It's an appetite which they will always have."