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Saturday 18 November 2017

O'Dea and Andrews adamant Trapattoni is right man for Ireland

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE Giovanni Trapattoni era has been kind to Keith Andrews and Darren O'Dea, who will both, no doubt, be relieved that it is set to continue.

In the aftermath of the win over the Faroe Islands, a game which was overshadowed by discussion of the manager's future, the Dubliners had backed Trapattoni with a conviction that mirrors his support for them.

"I'd be devastated," said Andrews, when asked how he would feel if the manager was shown the door. "I think a lot of players would. From a personal point of view, this manager is the one who gave me my chance at international level and, likewise, a lot of other lads.

"From the players' point of view we're 100pc behind him. I think we've been successful under this manager and it would be a shame if it changes."

Andrews is a Trap loyalist, but he did acknowledge that, perhaps, the manager has learned from the European Championships, where his reluctance to change bred discontent.

And the 32-year-old midfielder appreciates there are some players who were sitting on the bench in Torshavn who might have a different view of the regime.

"I can understand that," he said. "If I wasn't playing, I wouldn't be happy. If I was turning up for every trip and not getting a chance, I probably wouldn't be best pleased. but, at the end of the day, there are certain things that go on within the camp.

"Players who don't play regularly at club level, they can't have too many complaints about coming here and not playing," he added, a comment that would appear to have more relevance to Stephen Kelly than, say, West Brom regular Shane Long or Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark.

Incidentally, neither Kelly nor Long stopped to speak after the match to offer their view on events.

"The manager has decisions to make," continued Andrews. "He has a pool of whatever it is, 20 or 30 players, to choose from and he does that. I think he balances it between how well they've done at club level and how well they've done for him in the past.

"I think, certainly in the friendlies, especially in the Oman game and the Serbia game, he has experimented. He's probably learned from the Euros that he needs to integrate players a bit more."

O'Dea was a non-playing member of the Poland squad, but considering he now plays for a terrible Toronto team in the nether regions of the MLS, his inclusion is certainly reliant on Trapattoni's decision to overlook his club situation.

The defender admitted that it was impossible to avoid the ominous reports ahead of the Faroes encounter.

"We'd be lying if we said that we don't know what's going on. We've seen and heard what's been written and said," said the centre-half. "Within our camp, truthfully, there are no doubts about where the manager is at. We had one very bad night (against Germany) and we're not trying to get away from that. We put a little bit of that away now.

"As players, we can accept the criticism after results like Friday's. We have no uncertainty in our squad and there isn't a doubt in our mind that he is the boss."

"We play to our strengths and the manager identified those and has not deviated away from it. We always believe in what he wants to do. We have done since the first day and we still do now.

"We are comfortable with the way we want to play. We know our strengths and from a personal opinion, when you look at the results they speak for themselves. Everyone wants to play perfect football, but there are very few teams in the world who do, if any-- maybe Spain being the exception.

"If there is a question over the manager, it's for other people to decide, but as players all we can do is get behind him and we have always done that. Nothing has changed."

Irish Independent

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