Giovanni Trapattoni issues warning to Ireland stars

Last updated : 06 June 2011 By Daily Mail

Buoyed by the 2-0 win in Macedonia which has kept Ireland level with their next opponents, Slovakia and Russia at the top of Group B, Trapattoni takes a second string to Belgium to face Italy on Tuesday night.

Trapattoni has allowed Robbie Keane (reward/groin injury), John O'Shea (wife about to give birth), Keith Fahey (knee injury) and Kevin Kilbane and Shay Given (both starting UEFA coaching course in Belfast) to leave the squad.

Team talks: Trapattoni wants to reward those who have remained with the team

And while he admits he wishes he was?taking his strongest squad to Liege for this final friendly of the season, Trapattoni sees the game as a reward for those who have made themselves available for the last fortnight and clinched three vital Euro 2012 points, plus the Carling Nations Cup.

To his delight, despite carrying knocks and bruises and strains, Darren O'Dea, Stephen Hunt and Glenn Whelan have asked to stay with the squad, along with Aiden McGeady who had the option to fly back to Russia for a weekend game.

It is in marked contrast to the anger and confusion which surrounded the withdrawals of James McCarthy, Marc Wilson, Ciaran Clark, Darron Gibson?and Jon Walters when the squad first convened in Dublin after the final day of the Barclays Premier League season.

And Trapattoni said: 'We have?about?27 players. And now we give priority to those who played and achieved the results in the Carling Nations Cup and in Macedonia.

'We have some?injuries but I pleaded with them to stay and they said yes. Hunt runs too much, he wants to stay. Whelan has an ankle injury and the doctor says we must be careful, but he wants to stay. I asked McGeady if he wants to go back to Russia and he says he wants to stay.

Italian job: Ireland are well positioned ahead of the final phase of EURO 2012 qualifiers

'On Saturday we had four players who took four pain-killers and this commitment to our shirt and their availability for me is important because they have shown me they want to stay in the squad and they are keen to play for Ireland.

'It is not always about creative players. For example, Stephen Hunt has always been a little bit under-estimated on a technical level but his performance in the team is very important. Creative players are important but we need other mentality. A team needs an architect, engineers and builders.

'I don't forget about players like Gibson or Wilson but obviously they have to deserve their place. We are already in contact with these players and I have talked about?my surprise at not answering the call-up and?only answering one day before.

'But we are?in contact all the time with the doctors and we will keep staying in touch.'

Millwall keeper David Forde makes his first start tomorrow, and Trapattoni will also rest Simon Cox and use Andy Keogh upfront with Shane Long, who started on the bench in Skopje.

Results matter: Ireland's coaches Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli are looking for a win in Belgium

The Italian?has yet to decide who will captain the side, but Keith Andrews is the most likely choice if Stephen Kelly, skipper against Uruguay in March, is on the bench.

Despite having an opportunity to look at fringe players, Trapattoni, who believes his home nation will be?close to full-strength after their 3-0 win over Estonia on Saturday, wishes he was taking his first choice squad to Belgium.

He added: 'I have let players go home, which was important for them, but it is disappointing but we can try players like Keogh, Long and Cox.

'Of course I would like to play against Italy and play well and get the right result for us.' ?The Keane machine: Robbie notches half-century and British scoring recordMacedonia 0 Ireland 2: Keane reaches half-century as Trap's men cruise

?Explore more:People: Shay Given, Robbie Keane, Kevin Kilbane, Andy Keogh, Aiden McGeady, James McCarthy, Keith Andrews, John O'Shea, Stephen Kelly, Simon Cox Places: Belfast, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Ireland, Macedonia, Estonia, Belgium, Russia

Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail