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Scandal suits Trap's men

THEY don't mess around the Italian police. They could have waited for a decent interval to pass after Euro 2012 but no, in they went, mob handed and Cesare Prandelli's plans are in chaos.

Imagine if the rozzers had descended on Gannon Park and lifted a couple of Irish players for some alleged indiscretion and you get an idea of the impact yesterday's events had on Italian football.

Much as we admire the Italian football culture, the system which produces players for their national team is sick and has been ailing for a long time. This was only another outbreak of the malady.

Meanwhile, back in Montecatini, Trap has a tear in his eye when he describes a love affair between an Italian legend and an old, old Roman town. The contrast between himself and Prandelli could not be more stark.

"I came here first in 1958 with AC Milan and it has always been a lucky place for me," he said as the locals beamed.

While Trapattoni is genuinely upset by events in Italy and spoke of his 'humiliation' at the news that police had rounded up 31 people and served warning on two members of Prandelli's squad that they are under investigation, he cannot but be aware of how these events might help him in his quest to haul Ireland out of the toughest group in the competition.

Domenico Criscito has been forced to withdraw from Prandelli's training camp and squad and another likely name in his final 23, defender Leonardo Bonucci, is on the police hit list.

Who knows what will emerge over the next few days and whether the investigation will spread even further than it already has?

And while Trap is heart-sick for his country's difficulty, he knows that this is all good for Ireland's chances in Poland.

That said, he had other things on his mind in Montecatini and one of them was finding a place for Paul Green to occupy now that Keith Fahey is out of the squad.

Green is a nice, plain-talking lad and his pleasure at a late-late call-up is patently obvious. He also has a mop of red hair and could not be mistaken for an Italian at the civic reception held following yesterday's training session.

Along with Paul McShane, he added a striking splash of colour against a canvas of universally tanned locals.

He starts against a local selection is Pistoia tonight when Trap will play his part to raise funds for the family of Piermario Morosini, a Serie B player who died last month, while playing a Serie B game for Livorno.

A great cause to contribute to, but those of us who were in Japan and remember Jason McAteer's woebegone face after a warm-up game with Hiroshima will view this with some trepidation given the possibilities for further injury problems.

But Trapattoni has impressed upon everyone concerned that he does not want any more injury scares.

Injuries have occupied far too much of his time for the past 10 days and the very last thing he needs on the day he submitted his final squad to UEFA is another problem.

That said. There is much better news about John O'Shea who has his own training session in one corner of the Borgo a Buggiano Stadium with physio Ciaran Murray while the rest of the squad were put through their paces.

He looked sharp and flexible enough to suggest that he is definitely over the worst of his calf/ankle injury.

There is, however, a gap between O'Shea and Trapattoni who would have liked to see the Waterfordman involved in tonight's game.

However, as he said last week, the player is the best doctor and O'Shea has explained that he would prefer to leave it for another week and show that he is fit and ready in Budapest against Hungary.

Shay Given, it must be said, is a different matter. He worked with Alan Kelly yesterday and like O'Shea, let the rest of the squad get on with their normal session.

He looked agile enough making saves, but he is still having serious problems kicking the ball any distance with his right foot.

So much so that he spent some time kicking long with his left and while it wasn't perfect, it wasn't half bad either.

By the end of today, we were set to know the 23 players Trap had pinned his faith on, but there was still a doubt about the final place in his squad which seemed to be between Stephen Kelly, Kevin Foley and Paul McShane.


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