Giovanni Trapattoni has offered another olive branch to Stephen Ireland, and Manchester City’s new Italian manager Roberto Mancini could pave the way for an international return for the troubled midfielder.
Trap has revealed that he still wants stay-away Ireland back on board for the European Championship qualifiers and has spoken to Mancini about the issue as he renews his efforts to entice the Man City star to return to the fold.
Ireland hasn’t played for his country since the infamous Grannygate affair that followed a 2-2 draw in Bratislava almost three years ago.
The Irish will face Slovakia again in the qualifying tournament for the 2010 Euro finals, and Trap wants to bring Ireland back to Bratislava as a key component of his Irish team.
“I will look for Steve Ireland again,” Trapattoni told Star Sunday. “I am sure that I will look for Steve again in the future.”
Trap believes the huge media interest in Ireland’s return has kept the player away, and wants clear the air talks sooner rather than later.
He added, “When I spoke to Steve and his agent the last time I told him it was dangerous.
“Sometimes someone writes this or that after a meeting and there is a problem afterwards, but not at the time.
“I want to clarify why he felt there was a problem afterwards but not because of my words when we met. I will look for him in the future.”
Trapattoni has also revealed that he wants to stay in football management for at least another 10 years.
“I want to stay in this job until I am 80!” exclaimed the Italian.
“Two years ago when I took the Ireland job I was talking to my wife and I told her about the German coach in Oceania who worked until he was 80.
“He was 80 and he was still a manager, that’s what I want so the answer is no, this will not be my last campaign.
“I will carry on. It is important that you are clear here (he points to his head) and lucky here (he points to his heart).
“I am clear and lucky and I am enthusiastic, so I will carry on.”
Linked again with jobs in Nigeria and the Ivory Coast, Trap again committed himself to the Irish job at his Dublin press briefing.
“I have had calls and to all of them I have said, ‘No thank you, I am with Ireland’ and they are wasting their time,” insisted Europe’s most decorated manager.
“For me this has been all about agents ringing me and asking, but I send them all away with the exception of Juventus because they are in my heart.
“Even with them I told them that I was with Ireland and I am happy with Ireland. All the rest I refused to even discuss.
“It is nice to be wanted but I am happy here. I like the job and I like Ireland and the Irish people. It is a country that I have known for many years, a proud country and a country that in the past has gone through hard times and come through them.”
Jackie Kennedy’s granddaughter has uncannily similar looks