Thursday 18 January 2018

Trapattoni reignites Kelly feud with fresh bench jibe

Trapattoni: proud
Trapattoni: proud
Marie Crowe

Marie Crowe

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has taken another swipe at full-back Stephen Kelly, appearing to accuse him of being more interested in money.

The latest outburst by the manager against the Reading player comes less than six months after the FAI warned Trapattoni to keep matters private when he said Kelly had demanded to play or he would quit the squad. Kelly subsequently issued a statement saying he was "shocked and disgusted" by Trapattoni's remarks.

Trapattoni included Kelly in his squad to play Wales in Cardiff on August 14, but on Friday he hit out at the player and said he would like to speak to the Reading defender's agent.

"I want to (speak to him) because I can ask him 'why this player in Irish bench he go home but if on the bench with his club he stay, why?'," said Trapattoni. "He go home it is okay no problem, but in club he's paid money."

Last October, Kelly was left on the bench for Ireland's 6-1 defeat to Germany and he subsequently had a dispute with Trapattoni's assistant Marco Tardelli in Malahide.

Last February, the Ireland manager claimed that the full-back had refused to board the flight to the Faroe Islands unless he was definitely going to play in the October qualifier.

Kelly took exception to Trapattoni's comments, saying: "It saddens me greatly that I should have to defend my good character and reputation in a profession I love. However, I refuse to allow anyone to question my passion for representing Ireland".

The matter was seemingly resolved last March when Kelly was included in the Ireland squad for the Austria and Sweden games but these latest comments could cause more problems for Trapattoni, with the player and the association.

Trapattoni also revealed that he has recently received calls from other countries interested in acquiring his services.

"I have also opportunity but my interest is not in those opportunities," he said. "Somebody called, two, three countries, but I didn't even try discuss it. One team also asked 'are you available?'.

"Truth is I like to stay here first; I think really we have a good team. We have good players, but I have also ring (calls). I'm not particularly interested now, I believe in this team, I change many, many players in this team."

Trapattoni also made it clear he is keen to remain with Ireland even if the team fails to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. "The attitude is very important, because I believe in this team, they love me. If we lose, then ciao, bye-bye. If we qualify for Brazil, then we have the possibility of a new deal.

"It's FAI decision, but I am proud of what I did in these campaign. France, then Poland, we did good job. Now, the group is strong, but without this little mistake, Austria, that is our life. We can accept always. The people and the FAI decide."

Irish Independent

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