Sunday 19 November 2017

Trap won't bend to agents' demands

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

WHILE Ireland continue to search for eligible players across the UK and beyond, Giovanni Trapattoni has warned that he will not be held to ransom by agents in order to accelerate a decision.

The 71-year-old said he was speaking generally rather than referring to a specific case study when addressing the topic as he named his squad for the upcoming friendly with Norway.

Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark misses out as the FAI wait for confirmation from FIFA that the 21-year-old is free to play for the country where his parents grew up. Trapattoni is delighted to welcome the defender into his plans, after Clark stressed a willingness to prove his worth.

However, Trapattoni is troubled by agents seeking guarantees that their client will be in the first XI, but denied that Spurs' Jamie O'Hara was doing so, and quashed reports that a recent approach has been made to Mark Noble -- the West Ham midfielder who has captained the England U-21 side.

Therefore, it is unclear if the Irish boss was referencing a particular example in the midst of a typically vague answer on the process of recruitment.

"People say, 'we have a question, we have a question'," he said, "Not like (Shane) Duffy. He said, OK immediately, he will come and play for us. Clark the same, he say OK immediately.

Better

"I cannot say to them what the situation is. They cannot expect to come in and just go on pitch. I put on pitch what I think is better. If the agent says, 'He's OK, he deserves to play', then show me.

"There has been no contact with Noble. And with Maguire (Barry Maguire, who plays with Utrecht in Holland). We have to wait for FIFA to decide."

So, as those issues ramble on, the squad for Norway provides few surprises. Stoke's Jonathan Walters is called up for the first time, and is one of three uncapped individuals in the 27-man selection. Seamus Coleman and Marc Wilson, late call-ups to the squad for last month's Euro 2012 qualifiers with Russia and Slovakia, are the others.

Trapattoni indicated that Coleman will win a first cap on the night and drew a comparison with Gareth Bale, just like Everton boss David Moyes had done earlier in the day as he pointed out how the natural full-back has thrived in a wide role. Still, the Irish boss would like to try out Coleman in his preferred right-full position. "I wish to try him as a defender," he said. "He can go forward. I do not forbid my players from going across the halfway line. You can ask them. I say: 'Go forward and make a cross'. But if the No 2 goes forward to make a cross then, obviously, I look for the midfielder to stay."

Damien Duff, Stephen Hunt and Caleb Folan return from injuries, and Keith Treacy is in line for a second cap, despite confusion surrounding his withdrawal from the last squad.

Greg Cunningham should figure, with Trapattoni delighted to see the Galway lad gaining first-team experience at Leicester after recommending him to Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Yet he will field a strong team from the outset against the Norway, conscious that Shay Given and Robbie Keane need game-time considering their dire situations at club level.

James McCarthy misses out through injury, but was discussed in detail. Trapattoni tripped over his words when asked if he was concerned that the 19-year-old might switch back to his native Scotland as he has yet to win a competitive cap, although Irish fans shouldn't be worried.

The Wigan midfielder has no intention of changing his mind, and family members are aggrieved that the issue continues to crop up considering the player endured so much grief to declare for Ireland in the first place.

Craig Levein's assertion that the door remains open matters little when the Glaswegian has already decided not to walk through it.

Irish Independent

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