Sport Soccer

Sunday 21 January 2018

FAI warn Trap to keep it shut

Rap on knuckles for boss after Kelly war of words as chiefs insist issues must be 'dealt with in private'

Giovanni Trapattoni: war of words
Giovanni Trapattoni: war of words
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE FAI are unhappy with Giovanni Trapattoni for becoming embroiled in another war of words with a player after Stephen Kelly angrily hit out at the Irish manager for questioning his commitment to his country.

Kelly said he was "shocked and disgusted" after Trapattoni claimed on Thursday morning that the 29-year-old previously wanted a guarantee that he would play before reporting for international duty.

When Trapattoni clung on to his job last October, the FAI told him to stop criticising players in the public domain, with Abbotstown officials tired of the negative publicity arising from repeated controversies. Trapattoni agreed to follow that order, but veered back into old habits in the aftermath of Wednesday night's 2-0 win over Poland.

The Reading defender was 'rested' for the game, and the Italian's subsequent comments referred back to a dispute prior to the fraught World Cup qualifier with the Faroe Islands in October. Kelly had to be talked into making the trip after a row with a management over his lack of game-time.

Trapattoni returned to the incident when asked if Kelly would be in the squad for next month's World Cup qualifiers, and the FAI were unimpressed with the severity of his response.

"You know what happened with Kelly," said the Irish boss. "(He said), 'I play or go home'. That is the Irish players. They must be happy to come for their country, for their shirt. In their club if they didn't play, they would not say, 'I no play, I go home'."

The FAI released a brief statement which indicated their dissatisfaction. "Of course, Giovanni Trapattoni is a great manager and has achieved a lot," said a spokesman.

"But the association would prefer if the team matters like the incident before the Faroe Islands match were dealt with in private."

Kelly accused Trapattoni of "hurtful and untrue comments", adding that they have "caused distress and upset to my family, who have supported me throughout my career and know the level of commitment and passion I have always shown in representing my country".

Trapattoni is also in the bad books with Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill after encouraging Keiren Westwood to leave the Stadium of Light in order to reclaim the goalkeeping gloves from David Forde.

"Maybe things were lost in translation, but you can't tell players they should be leaving clubs just to get international games," said O'Neill.

Irish Independent

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