World Cup legend Paul McGrath has called on Irish fans and boss Giovanni Trapattoni to turn their backs on Manchester City’s international rebel Stephen Ireland after his latest outburst.
The Cobh-born midfielder finally ruled himself out of the World Cup on Saturday when he launched another astonishing attack on Trappattoni, accusing him of arrogance among other things.
McGrath believes the latest outburst by Ireland should bring an end to speculation regarding any comeback for the 23-year-old. “If Stephen Ireland doesn’t feel anything for the country he was born in and isn’t interested in us then the feeling should be reciprocated,” McGrath said.
“We should leave the big houses, the big cars and the big money to Stephen Ireland and get on with the job of qualifying for the World Cup without him. “Any professional athlete should want to represent his or her country and should see it as a massive accolade.
So for someone to come out publicly and say that he doesn’t feel anything for the country he was born in and doesn’t want to be involved, well it’s all a bit foreign to me to be fair.
“He should want to play for Ireland and he should be proud to play for Ireland. If he’s not then we should treat him exactly the same way.”
McGrath made his comments after Ireland accused Trapattoni of arrogance and confirmed that he will not be returning to the Irish squad in the short or long term.
Ireland claimed in an English newspaper interview, “When I met Trapattoni for a chat last season I felt there was a lot of arrogance going on. “We were in the middle of chatting and he kept leaving the room to answer one of the four phones he had on him. We didn’t speak after that until this summer, when he called me. But I think he made that call for his own benefit, rather than mine.
“He said, ‘Is it okay if I tell the press that I’ve spoken to you and there’s a chance of you coming back?’ I said you can tell people we’ve spoken and maybe we’ll meet up in the future, but don’t say there’s a chance of me coming back because there probably isn’t. “As soon as he switched from talking about meeting up with me to announcing it to the press I knew what his agenda was.
“Even with the prospect of a World Cup, it hasn’t crossed my mind once about going back. I have never felt part of the squad and I never will. “When I watch Ireland games it’s weird. It’s like I was never there and I don’t miss it at all.”
Sources close to Trapattoni, however, have laughed off suggestions that the Irish boss was more interested in his “four” mobile phones than getting Ireland back during their talks. They have also denied the claim that Trapattoni has four mobiles.
And Trapattoni himself has vowed to put the other claims made by Ireland to bed at a Dublin press conference this Friday when he names his squad for the forthcoming World Cup games with Italy and Montenegro.