Giovanni Trapattoni clearly wants to do the right thing by any Irish soccer fans heading to Yankee Stadium in New York next Tuesday night for the final installment of quite an eventful season for the Boys in Green and their Italian manager.
Not for the first time, Trapattoni finds himself frustrated by the almost apathetic attitude some of his young charges adopt when it comes to international football.
Having already fallen out with the likes of Darron Gibson and Anthony Stokes, Trapattoni struggled to understand why Anthony Pilkington of Norwich City opted to go on his stag party last week at the expense of his Ireland debut against England in the very creditable 1-1 draw at Wembley.
He then advised Shane Long, captain for Sunday’s 4-0 friendly win over Georgia at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, to skip his own wedding next week in favor of Ireland’s friendly with Spain in New York.
And he almost lost the head altogether when James McCarthy, suspended for this Friday night’s World Cup home qualifier with the Faroe Islands, decided to take his summer holidays and skip the flight to America for a game designed to serve as shooting practice for world and European champions Spain ahead of their Confederations Cup bid in Brazil next week.
The news that Trap is taking the first Irish soccer international at Yankee Stadium so seriously will clearly come as a surprise to McCarthy, brilliant at the heart of the Ireland midfield at Wembley and set to move to a big four Premier League club from relegated Wigan this summer.
But Trapattoni is in no mood to see McCarthy fail to make the flight to JFK on Saturday if his words at a Dublin press conference on Monday past were anything to go by.
He said, “It’s important. I have a family too but it is about professional discipline. You can make other time to rest. When I was a player, I never turned down these opportunities. Players need to rest as they have played many games, but it’s also important to see on the list the famous names like Richard Dunne, John O’Shea and McCarthy.
“We have accepted to play this game against Spain and the Irish people in New York deserve respect. They are paying for tickets, but not to see the second team. Our players must understand that it’s only for three days.
“If we wanted to send the under-21s to New York, we would send Noel King’s side. The players must understand this.”
Trapattoni has been down the American summer tour road before with club and country. He’s even met President George HW Bush when he brought his Juventus side in 1983.
“When I was a young manager we played in Washington and we visited George Bush, the White House and played a game,” Trap recalled.
“For 30 years, I have been involved in games like this. I was lucky. I was with Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus and we always had fixtures like this.
“Every year after the league we went to New York, Toronto, Niagara Falls or wherever and we had a tour lasting 20 days. Afterwards we had two weeks of holiday and we started again. It’s normal, it’s our job. It’s about professional discipline, education and behavior.”
Manhattan is second on the priority list for Trapattoni right now as he prepares for Friday night’s qualifier against the Faroe Islands at the Aviva and the chance to improve his team’s goal difference.
Ireland have warmed up well for the challenge. They were hugely impressive in the first half at Wembley last week when Shane Long headed them into the lead before a Frank Lampard equalizer in a game which attracted a crowd of just over 82,000 and passed off without incident.
They were also good against a 10 man Georgian side for much of Sunday’s facile 4-0 win in Dublin when an early red card for the visiting goalkeeper ruined the game as a spectacle.
Robbie Keane, set to break the Irish caps record this Friday, scored twice on Sunday, with defender Richard Keogh and Simon Cox also on target.
Those two games have fueled the appetite for an Irish goal fest, led by Keane, against a Faroes side beaten 4-1 in Torshavn last October as the critics called for Trap’s head in the wake of the heavy 6-1 defeat at home to Germany days earlier.
A goal rush is expected this Friday but Trapattoni will be as cautious as ever.
“We need to play as a team because only players like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski have the quality to score on their own,” he said.
“But I think we have more possibility now with attacking players like Wilson and Seamus Coleman in the team. We have 30 percent more on the left and 30 per cent more on the right with these two players in the side.”
Coleman, man of the match at Wembley as he left Wayne Rooney and the rest in his shade, will start against the Faroes, with Richard Dunne, after his first outing of the season in the second half against Georgia, and Wes Hoolahan also in the frame for a game Ireland will win comfortably.
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