The furore over the Republic of Ireland’s missing players is rumbling on despite assistant manager Marco Tardelli’s attempts to clarify the situation this morning.
The start of the Republic’s four-game summer programme, which includes a Euro 2012 qualifier in Macedonia on June 4, has been overshadowed by the failure of several players to report for duty.
Wigan midfielder James McCarthy, Birmingham’s Keith Fahey and Stoke trio Marc Wilson, Jon Walters and Glenn Whelan were all expected in Dublin for this week’s Carling Nations Cup matches.
Tardelli said McCarthy, Wilson and Walters were definitely out injured but then suggested world football rules may be invoked ahead of the Macedonia game requiring them to report to Ireland medical staff.
Speaking at a fractious press conference initially arranged to review last night’s 5-0 win over Northern Ireland, Tardelli said: “Why do you always want to speak about these players?
“I prefer to speak about the other players, the players who played last night.
“Ask me about Simon Cox or the other players. They deserve it.”
When pressed further, he said: “Wilson – out. He has a problem, injured. Walters is out, injured. Whelan and Fahey, they will come.
“The other players, I don’t know. They stayed at home. That has been clarified. Maybe tomorrow or another day they will see the doctor.”
Celtic striker Anthony Stokes sparked the first controversy of the week by withdrawing citing tiredness, a move which infuriated manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
McCarthy then failed to report for duty on Monday as expected and Trapattoni claimed the player had made no contact with him or returned any calls.
That was denied by Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, who said the Football Association of Ireland were informed about an ankle injury.
The Republic then thrashed Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium but the issue was not eclipsed as Trapattoni revealed after the game that Wilson – who had originally been selected to play – and Walters were also missing.
Some statements from team management and the FAI have suggested they did not concur with some team assessments about injuries but Tardelli insisted that was not the case.
He said: “James McCarthy has a problem, he is injured. His season was very hard, he played with an ankle problem.
“I believe him, I believe Stoke, I believe the other players but sometimes it is possible to come here, have it assessed with the doctor and then go back.”
Stoke are not prepared to comment on the issues concerning their players, although all three were given special dispensation to delay their departures until yesterday following the club’s awards night.