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No other nation would stomach Trap guff

SOMETIMES it just takes someone to tell the truth to clear away the fog. Brian Kerr did that on a radio station last night and he didn't mince his words.

To paraphrase; no other football nation in the world would tolerate the methods used by Giovanni Trapattoni to manage Ireland. He was on the money.

Kerr was speaking on Sunshine FM and he focused firmly on the fact that Trapattoni doesn't go to watch his players at club level and therefore cannot have all the information he needs to make the fine calls that international managers must make.

It's a detail and many have pointed this weakness out before but it's a long time since anyone bothered. Trapattoni doesn't shift out of his favourite seat for anyone or anything and it's pointless even mentioning it now.

But Kerr has been consistent about this from the off and this time told a yarn about a chat he had with Italian journalists during Euro 2012.

He wondered whether Trapattoni took in Serie A games when he was the Italian gaffer but they just laughed at the idea that anyone would even have to ask.

Trapattoni arrived in Ireland but was given no brief from the FAI other than to qualify for South Africa 2010 and when that effort fell short, for Euro 2012.

It may well be that he was asked to perform specific tasks as part of his role as international manager but from the outside looking in, extra-curricular work has been focused on promo appearances and pressing the flesh out among the grassroots in places like Tipperary, Limerick or Croagh Patrick.

He has not performed many of the fundamental jobs an international manager should be doing and for a man who prides himself on detail, that's a pretty serious accusation.

But it is more than valid at this stage. Here's the deal now. Everyone is pretending. Trapattoni, the hacks, the fans. The energy and discipline he brought to the job initially has dissipated and it's wing and a prayer time.

We sit in front of him and try to ask the questions people in the stands are asking; hoping to present a distillation of the consensus view for his perusal.

We throw around phrases like three-man midfield as we have been doing for about two years now because we have eyes in our head and saw what Russia did to Ireland in Moscow and Lansdowne Road.


Trapattoni just bats his eyelids and coyly offers a hint that this time, really this time, there might be something different.

For the rest of the week, we will all write and talk about Trapattoni's plan and argue the case for different players and formations.

All the while, Trapattoni indulges us and plays the game, trousering an outrageous amount of money for a very old and tired formula which worked for Jack Charlton many moons ago and got Ireland to Poland this summer but no further.

The odds are very, very short that the first act committed by a player in green on Friday night will be to place a dayglo boot on the ball and 100,000 eyes will track heavenward, blinded by the harsh wattage of the Aviva while the first long punt arcs towards the German penalty area like an artillery round.

Never mind all this talk about a three-man midfield. That's just more blather. Other than two or three times when the players broke free from their conditioning and reached a different level, Trapattoni's era has been all about the long ball and the Alamo. That and a flock of luck fairies circling the man's head.

For the sake of the readers, we tried again yesterday to find a hint of something new but the only thing we were really searching for was some evidence that another battering by one the world's super-powers can be avoided on Friday night.

So here's the news flash. Trapattoni now believes (or so he says) that if he is to play a three-man midfield against Germany, he must do it with a midfielder.

In June, he did everything he could to avoid using midfielders like James McCarthy and Darron Gibson and asked lads like Jon Walters and Simon Cox to jury-rig some sort of response to the fact that his Ireland couldn't cope with a playmaker.

After a dire performance in Astana and a kickabout with Oman, Trapattoni now 'trusts' McCarthy to make up the extra man in midfield.

Between Poland and Kazakhstan, the only thing McCarthy did was to spend as much time as he could with his dad. He is the same player now as he was when he got on the flight to Montecatini and that alone exposes Trapattoni as a bit of a spoofer.

There's plenty more too. Like his very rapid reassessment of Ciaran Clark, dismissed just two weeks ago as surplus to requirements and someone who yet might find himself on the pitch against Germany or the charade around Damien Duff.

So we'll fill the days with nonsense and more pretence until Friday evening but with Kerr's words still ringing loud.

No other country in the world would tolerate an absentee manager but we do.