Saturday 24 February 2018

Foley distraught at Trap’s decision to axe him from Euro 2012 squad

A disappointed Kevin Foley leaves the pitch with teammate Paul Green at the end of Ireland's game against a Tuscan selection in Pistoia last night
A disappointed Kevin Foley leaves the pitch with teammate Paul Green at the end of Ireland's game against a Tuscan selection in Pistoia last night

Daniel McDonnell in PISTOIA

KEVIN FOLEY last night said he felt "betrayed" after he was dramatically cut from Ireland's Euro 2012 squad by Giovanni Trapattoni.

The Ireland manager decided to bring Paul McShane to Poland instead due to his ability to also cover centre-half, as there are slight doubts hanging over Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger and Darren O'Dea.

But that was no consolation for the distraught and usually mild-mannered Foley, who emotionally hit out after asking to play in last night's 5-0 friendly win over a local Tuscany selection so he could prove to the wider world that he has fully recovered from a hamstring problem.

The Wolves man had no idea what was coming when he was called for a meeting with Trapattoni 30 minutes before the deadline for submitting the 23-man squad to UEFA.

"I just feel betrayed, that's all I want to say," said Foley. "I said that to the manager, I obviously wasn't happy.

"I wanted to play tonight. I wanted to prove a point that I was fit to play. From what I understood I could have trained last week on Thursday and Friday and been involved in the game against Bosnia, but he said that there was no rush, that they could wait for me to train in Italy.

"So I trained in Italy for two days and felt great and then all of a sudden he pulls me this morning just before the end and told me I wasn't in the squad. That was hard to take."

Foley's parents had already booked a trip to Poland, and the experience was set to be a career highlight for a man who has been capped just eight times in his six years around the senior squad.

He has been placed on standby, and could receive a call back if John O'Shea fails to shake off his ankle problem, but the player is understandably distraught by developments and decided against coming to Poland as a 24th man.

"I'll be their number one fan watching from home," he said. "The lads have been great with me but what just happened, happened."

Foley declined to answer a question on whether developments would affect his international future.

"I don't really want to talk about that now," he said, "I just want to go home. It's a lot to take in one day"

Trapattoni admitted that it was a difficult time for the player, but he has retained a pragmatic approach in the build up to the championships.

"We based our decision on the fact all the central defenders have problems," he said. "Obviously, Kevin was very clearly upset and so was I. But I have a responsibility to our team and to the nation. It's my duty to take the decision, and disregard personal feelings."

McShane is pals with Foley going back to U-19 level, and admitted the circumstances of his promotion into the full squad weren't ideal.

"It's terrible for Kevin and I'm not buzzing that I am in the squad because all I see is Kev, who is a good friend of mine.

"That's the nature of football so it is tough. I'm not jumping about and I am trying to keep an even keel. I know how he feels as I have been in that position where the squad has been announced and was disappointed. He will come back, Kev's a good player -- he will bounce back."

Irish Independent

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