Ireland soccer team players want a new deal for Giovanni Trapattoni
Kevin Kilbane has joined the calls to reward Giovanni Trapattoni with a new contract before Ireland’s European Championship fate is decided next week.
Trapattoni, whose current €1.8 million a year deal will expire with the nation’s interest in the Euro 2012 competition, has made no secret of his wish to stay on for a third term.
The Italian will be guaranteed an extension from his FAI bosses if wins against Andorra and Armenia in early October seal qualification for the finals in Poland and the Ukraine.
But, like captain Robbie Keane, Kilbane feels a new offer should be put in front of Trap before his squad depart for Andorra and Friday week’s fixture.
“If you look at what the manager has achieved in the last couple of campaigns then yes, you would have to give him a new deal now,” said Kilbane.
“Without a shadow of a doubt he deserves it because he got us so close to the last World Cup and he has us on the verge of qualifying for these European finals.
“We were on our knees when he took over. He has brought his character and his experience and real personality to the job, and he has got us playing in a set way that is very hard to beat.
“He’s got us organized and he’s really got us together as a team, and hopefully we will reap the rewards of that in the next two qualifiers.”
An international veteran with over 100 Irish caps to his name, Derby midfielder Kilbane insists qualification for Euro 2012 would be a massive achievement for this current Ireland squad.
“We can’t deny that we are a small football nation, can we?” he asked ahead of a return to international duty after injury kept him out of the recent draws with Slovakia and Russia.
“We haven’t got a big pool of players to choose from anymore. It is difficult these days for Irish players trying to make a name for themselves in England because of all the overseas imports nowadays.
“When we qualified for the World Cup 10 years ago we had many players in the Premier League and at the top of the Championship playing well.
“They were all getting chances to play for their clubs every week. It is different now so I honestly don’t think that Giovanni Trapattoni could have done any more for us.”
Ahead of those vital games, Trapattoni himself is none too pleased with West Brom counterpart Roy Hodgson -- but he won’t hold it against Baggies striker Shane Long.
Trapattoni lost Long to a calf injury for last month’s big Euro qualifiers against Slovakia and Russia.
The Italian wasn’t impressed when Long played for West Brom at Norwich just four days after he missed the scoreless draw in Moscow.
But his ire is reserved for Hodgson -- and he is threatening to spill the beans when his managerial career comes to an end.
“I will write a book when I’m finished this job,” said Trapattoni when asked why he hadn’t argued his case with the West Brom gaffer.
“I was sure Shane would play, I said to him, ‘I am sure, I will see you play 90 minutes’ ...and he did.
“But Shane Long is 24 years old, I understand his situation, maybe another (older) player can decide, ‘I am okay, or no,’ but I understood him. He’s in new club, he’s Irish, playing in England, I understand.
“My disappointment is for this manager, not for the player. I understand also the manager’s job, because I was club manager for 25 years, with Juventus, Inter, Benfica, Bayern ... but I never asked my players not to play for their country.
“I ask them to speak with the manager, and say they have possibility to play. Then I decide when they come back. I could foresee if the player is tired, and give him maybe an hour play.”
Long, who scored against Chelsea and Manchester United this season, is back in the Ireland squad for the crunch qualifiers away to Andorra and home to Armenia.
Named in the starting team for the draw with Slovakia in September before that injury ruled him out, he could feature as an alternative to Kevin Doyle upfront in Andorra.
“It’s possible he could be a good alternative, because he’s playing regularly,” added Trapattoni.
“Against Russia, we thought his speed would be important against their defenders.
“But it’s not only the player, it’s the tactical situation. We think which striker is better against the opposition. We must prepare like this for every game.