Trap in Pole position to eye Euro training facilities

GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI and Marco Tardelli will travel to Poland this week to assess Ireland’s base camp options for the European Championship finals next summer.

The Irish management team will tour Wroclaw and Gdynia on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to inspect training facilities and accommodation in both cities, as preparations intensify for Ireland’s Euro 2012 group games against Croatia, Spain and Italy in Gdansk and Poznan next June.

Sweden, having been drawn in Group D in Ukraine, are not now expected to take up their base camp option in Gdynia, preferring instead to relocate to Kiev.

However, they have to officially notify UEFA of their plans and the governing body must then confirm that Gdynia has become an available option for Ireland.

All this is expected to be a formality, which is why Trapattoni and Tardelli will visit the Baltic Sea port and tourist resort, along with Wroclaw, during their stay in Poland.

In Gdynia’s favour is its close proximity to Gdansk, where Ireland play Spain on Thursday June 14, and also the fact that, by common consensus of various associations — including a preliminary inspection by the FAI when they were checking out facilities across Poland and Ukraine — its training pitch has possibly the best surface of all the available centres in the region.

The final call, however, will be made by the Ireland manager.

As for the location of the squad’s pre-tournament training camp, Italian manager Cesare Prandelli said in Kiev on Friday night that Trapattoni had told him he was reconsidering a plan to take his team to Italy, having drawn Prandelli’s team in Group C.

However, sources yesterday suggested Trapattoni was still keen on hosting his training camp at the spa town of Montecatini, close to Florence, and was planning to travel from his home in Milan to check out facilities there possibly as early as this week.

Adding a little spice to the situation is that Montecatini is only 35 kilometres from Italy’s own training base in Coverciano, which is perhaps what prompted Italian officials to speculate that Trap would feel obliged to change his plans now the two countries will be rivals at next summer’s finals.

“We think Trap will change the place as it is too close to Florence,” said an Italian FA spokesman over the weekend.

“He said to Mr Prandelli in a joking manner that he me might send spies to his camp, but he might not want all the media exposure.”

Trapattoni has previously said he was also considering taking his players back to Portugal where he held his first training camp as Ireland manager three years ago.

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