Sunday 17 December 2017

Trapattoni at end of the road

Redknapp waiting in wings as FAI weigh up endgame with Italian

Daniel McDonnell in Torshavn and Ian Mallon

HARRY REDKNAPP is waiting for a phone call from the FAI after it emerged that Giovanni Trapattoni's days as Ireland manager are numbered.

While Trapattoni arrived in Torshavn ahead of tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands insisting that he still had the full support of the association and the players, the Irish Independent has learned that he could be gone before the end of the week.

The 6-1 thrashing by Germany has been deemed the final straw after a humiliating European Championship and not even a win tomorrow night will be enough to keep the Italian in his job.

News that Trapattoni is on the way out will alert a number of candidates who would be interested in a position that retains an attraction despite Ireland's recent struggles.

It's understood that Redknapp would be interested in talking to the FAI if the job came up, although it remains to be seen what kind of package the Abbotstown officials could offer in the event of a managerial change. He is likely to have other options on the table in the coming months.

In addition to Redknapp (left), Mick McCarthy is also out of work and admitted during the summer that he wouldn't rule out a return to his old job at some stage.

The FAI hierarchy opted not to discuss the matter after the Germany match, with an insider revealing: "The board has not met since Friday night's game, but I know that none of the board members have spoken to Trapattoni either."

There is a growing sense of urgency that the 73-year-old should be sacked if he doesn't resign. It is highly unlikely he will step down given his defiant stance at a press conference on Saturday when he ruled out any possibility of quitting.

The veteran boss said that the FAI and Irish fans are happy with the job he is doing, but that confidence is misguided.

It is believed that the cost of getting rid of the manager, his assistant Marco Tardelli and fitness coach Fausto Rossi would exceed €1.7m if the FAI were forced to pay the full value of the year remaining on their contracts.

However, the hope is that a change of management would lead to an increased attendance for next month's friendly with Greece and the February visit of Poland and drum up a feel-good factor ahead of the crucial March double header with Austria and Sweden.

Despite the ominous pressure, Trapattoni feels that everyone is still behind him.

"They know our jobs, and they know what we are doing," he said, with respect to the FAI. "And they (Irish people) are fantastic when we go on the road and the streets."

However, the mood in Dublin 4 on Friday was markedly different. Ireland defender John O'Shea last night expressed surprise that boos from the crowd were not more audible after the harsh German lesson.

Frustration

The Waterford man understood why some supporters vented their frustration at the end of a humiliating evening.

"When you come to watch a team try to get a win and it loses 6-1, it's not the result you want and you are not going to be happy," he said.

"I would say (those who did boo) were exactly right to do it. I'm surprised the whole stadium did not do it when you lose 6-1."

The Sunderland man added that the Faroe Islands fixture was an opportunity to get the Germany defeat out of their system.

"Thankfully, this game has come around really quickly and we can get three points towards qualifying for the World Cup.

"Obviously we are still massively disappointed by how it went the other night. This game comes around fast and if we get the win then we will have six points from three games.

"We cannot forget about the other night but hopefully we can move on from it."

Friday's stand-in skipper brushed off talk of Trapattoni's future, saying: "That's the beauty of sport. People are allowed their opinion. We'll see how the players respond tomorrow."

Regular captain Robbie Keane could feature in the meeting with the 158th-ranked team in the world. He flew with the rest of the squad after showing signs of recovery from the ongoing Achilles problem that forced him out on Friday.

However, Andy Keogh, who scored the injury-time consolation at Lansdowne Road, did not travel after suffering concussion in training on Saturday. There is also suggestions that Robbie Brady may make the starting XI.

Trapattoni was in fighting talk ahead of the trip, expressing his firm belief that Ireland can still qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"I think we can achieve qualification," he said. "Germany is a superior name to us. Austria is not easy, but I know Austria, and there is Sweden too. We can be competitive with these teams. I don't wish to repeat that we had players missing on Friday.

"Why not?" he continued, when discussing the prospects of going to Rio. "With a new energy coming, we have this possibility."

He was referring to the injection of life from new players and returning stars, but it seems that the FAI have reached the conclusion that the best chance of achieving that dream is freshening up the dugout.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport