Thursday 23 November 2017

Door left open for Ireland and Hoolahan to figure in next campaign

David Kelly

David Kelly

Giovanni Trapattoni has confirmed that enigmatic exiles such as Andy Reid and Stephen Ireland remain on his radar ahead of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

And he also indicated that 30-year-old Wes Hoolahan -- after an outstanding season in the Premier League with Norwich -- could yet be part of the future, despite missing out in yesterday's squad announcement.

When Trapattoni mentioned Andy Reid's name at yesterday's press conference, the accompanying laughter of the floor forced a severe response.

The Italian was eager to ensure that an unprompted mention of one of Irish football's steady conveyor belt was not interpreted facetiously.

And he also insisted that Hoolahan, the latest so-called flair player to elude Trapattoni's austere tactical regime, will form part of his future plans.

strong

"Hoolahan is a great player, but when we knew Hoolahan he was already 28 or 29," said Trapattoni. "Now he's 30. He plays well and I saw him score in his last game.

"We saw many games of Hoolahan, Marco Tardelli and I. We do not forget him. We will build a team with other systems and other situation, also including James McCarthy and Steve Ireland.

"But we couldn't change our system in this moment because we have a strong midfield and strong wingers. I don't want to change these two strikers.

"I am convinced we couldn't play with one striker and one with Hoolahan. Maybe in a friendly but also in friendly games, these are important for the rankings."

Trapattoni also mentioned Steven Reid and again Ireland by name when insisting that his system came first.

"I thought when I came here first it's not English football league, it's international football, it's a little bit different. We want to always build the balance in this team.

"We have no Messi, Ronaldo, Pele, but a team with a strong balance. That is the reason why we continue to follow Wes. But I won have won cup, league cup and champions cup with this system."

Irish Independent

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