Giovanni Trapattoni wants Damien Duff back in the Ireland team – but his appeal is set to fall on deaf ears ahead of the opening World Cup fixture in Kazakhstan on Friday night.
Irish coach Marco Tardelli has revealed that Trap has even enlisted the help of Richard Dunne in his bid to persuade Duff to come out of retirement.
But the Ireland boss and his number two admit the bid is unlikely to succeed less than a month after Duff confirmed his retirement.
Tardelli told a Dublin press conference, “I know he has said he has retired, but I hope he will be back for the Germany game next month. It is possible.
“I don’t know if he will or not, but I always see him during Fulham’s matches and I think it is possible, why not? He is a very good player. He said he has stopped but I hope he will come back.”
Duff has yet to reply to Tardelli’s comments, but there is little or no chance he will seen in an Ireland shirt again after a number of interviews in the Irish media last week.
While admitting that he let Trapattoni down when he retired, Duff said he is not for a u-turn on his decision to quit international football after 100 caps.
He insisted, “Me retiring was no reflection on the Euros. I’d more or less decided it beforehand.
“There was no particular reason like my body, my family or my kids -- I’ll have the rest of my life with them. But my gut told me it was the right time.
“It was a sad day when I did it, I dwelt on it all summer. Mr. Trapattoni was on to me and he did have me wavering. I was going to come back.
“He was amazing to be fair, he couldn’t have done any more. I felt like I’d let him down as he’d been so good to me and was so desperate for me to stay. But I decided to look after number one for once.”
Trapattoni, meanwhile, has hinted that Sunderland winger James McClean will replace Duff on the artificial pitch in Kazakhstan on Friday night.
The Derry-born player is set to make his first competitive start in the opening World Cup fixture judging by Trap’s comments.
“Maybe in Kazakhstan McClean will play up with the two strikers. That is not a problem for him,” said Trapattoni.
“We have also other players who can play in that position. The position is different to where he usually plays but he can also play there. We will wait and see what the condition of the other players is but he could play there.”
Trapattoni has also warned Darron Gibson that he may lose out long term after asking not to be picked for the game on Friday.
Gibson has effectively quit international football in protest at his complete lack of game time at the European finals last June.
Trapattoni said, “In the past we were frightened about missing players, but now we already have a squad.
“He can think about it or we go with other players. We have David Meyler, Marc Wilson, then there is Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy. All can play in midfield and coming back after this game we also have Keith Andrews. When we come here, if there are players who are not coming, we build the other team.
“We have been watching also new players, maybe we will discover a new Irish player. He has to decide whether he wants to play or not.”
Gibson delivered the news of his refusal to play in a phone call to the Italian.
Trapattoni added, “I spoke with Gibson for a long time. He explained to me that he was disappointed. I understood but I said to him that we were all disappointed after the defeats in the Euro campaign, but I said that this is a time for a new opportunity for the Republic.
“I could have played him against Italy in the final Euro game but I explained to him it was impossible to change.
“With 20 minutes to go in our match Italy could have gone out and Croatia could qualify. If we changed it and we lost it would have looked like I favored Italy.”
Trap has also responded to suggestions he is under real pressure going into the World Cup campaign after Ireland’s dismal Euro performance.
“We must be proud starting this new campaign and we must have the willingness to take revenge,” he said.
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