Saturday 20 January 2018

Duff is retired -- it's time to move on

Stephen Kelly's weekend comments about the unexpected saga arising from the international retirement of his Fulham team-mate Damien Duff (pictured) prompted Giovanni Trapattoni to have a chat with the defender.

Kelly, rightly, pointed out that Duff had no intention of returning. "Every interview I do, people keep asking me about it and it's more coming from the fact that the manager's talking about it," Kelly told the Sunday Independent.

"Damien's retired. I think it's strange that they keep going on about it. Not the media. The media keep going on about it because the manager's talking about it. I think it's strange that the manager and staff keep bringing it up. If they have any private conversations with Damien just leave it at that. I think it should be nipped in the bud. The speculation is ridiculous and it's been dragged on for no reason."

Trapattoni addressed those comments yesterday, making the point that he had only sent Duff one message since his decision to quit Ireland became public in August. That still doesn't explain why the management team floated the possibility of a Duff comeback in several media briefings, thus making it back page news.

It's time to move on.

Injuries won't slow Germans

With Philipp Lahm, Mario Gomez and Lars Bender already ruled out, Joachim Loew lost another body yesterday when Borussia Dortmund said central defender Mats Hummels faces two weeks on the sidelines with a leg injury.

Loew (above) has a squad packed with Champions League regulars, so he can afford a couple more setbacks. Ireland, on the other hand, are on the ropes after the loss of Sean St Ledger and Glenn Whelan. Loew called in Hamburg's Heiko Westermann as cover.

Number of the day

100,000Bottles of water that will be consumed over the course of a new sponsorship arrangement between Tipperary Water and the FAI. They become the 'official mineral water' to the association, so you can expect Trap to be pictured with a bottle or two over the next week.

Elsewhere in Group C

While Irish eyes are trained on the German visit and the subsequent trip to the Faroes, there are two full rounds of fixtures, so everyone else in the group is in action twice. Sweden are in the Faroes on Friday, while Austria will be in Kazakhstan trying to avoid the same problems that Ireland suffered last month.

It's almost like a two-legged cup tie as the Kazakhs travel to Austria on the Tuesday, the same night that Germany host Sweden in Berlin.

Irish Independent

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