Sport Soccer

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Boss insists the penny has dropped with players over drink culture

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI believes that the penny has dropped with his players about their social habits after well-publicised breaking of curfews early in his tenure as boss.

The Italian again brought up the topic of alcohol and respecting deadlines, the second time in the space of four months that he has invited discussion on the topic without prompting.

Andy Reid was punished for not going to bed at the requested time after a sing-song in the team hotel following the manager's first competitive game against Georgia back in September 2008, and there were reports of another incident in Malahide back in June that Trapattoni endeavoured to investigate.

Ahead of the next game -- a friendly with Croatia in August -- he made a strong statement, and the 72-year-old feels that his players are now on message.

"For me it was impossible to understand, at first, that some players would come back at 10.0 and others would come back at 1.0," he said. "For me, it's about professionalism, about mentality. If it (curfew) is 12.0, then, okay, it's not 12.30. If it's 11.0, then it's not 11.30.


"You Irish have this habit. If you want one beer more, sure, that's fine. We drink wine. It's not this. It's the rules, the life, the professional lives. This is important.

"It's pride in our mentality, and I think with this attitude and commitment in this campaign, I believe in this team."

In reflecting on the successes of the campaign, Trapattoni also referenced the improvement in communication after the summer's difficulties with no-shows for the training camp in Malahide and Four Nations games ahead of the trip to Macedonia. Stoke's Marc Wilson is still suffering for his non-attendance.

"One of my aims, from years ago, was to give this team professionalism," Trapattoni continued. "It's about answering when the secretary sends you an SMS. 'Okay, I come to the game', or, 'I'm not coming', and it's the same when I decide to allow the players to rest.

"If they want the responsibility and the time to stay with family, that's okay, but they must come back on time."

The Irish team will be allowed to have a big celebration after this evening's game, with Dublin going into celebration mode.

It's been low-key since Friday's win over Estonia, though, with the players going out for a meal on Sunday afternoon, but returning to the base in Portmarnock that evening.

But it will be a different story come 10.0 tonight.

Irish Independent

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