Giovanni Trapattoni has described his annoyance at the fact John O’Shea risked aggravating an injury on the eve of the European Championship finals, saying that it was “silly” and “naive” of him to play for Sunderland in last Sunday’s game against Manchester United.
Having taken a knock in his previous outing for the club, O’Shea was forced to limp out of the game against United at the Stadium of Light, initially leading manager Martin O’Neill to express fears that it might be a recurrence of a calf injury which could keep him out of the Euros.
However, a subsequent scan at the club revealed O’Shea had in fact mildly aggravated an ankle knock and that no serious damage had been incurred. The player has since been in touch with the Ireland manager to assure him that the injury is “not too bad” and that he will be able to train with the squad in Dublin next week.
However, Trapattoni yesterday revealed his unhappiness that O’Shea had opted to play on the final day of the season for his club.
“I said to him, ‘you have already this little injury’,” said the Italian. “Sunderland don’t need the (points on the) table, but we need the players. It’s silly, silly. Not a mistake but a bit naive for him to play. Sunderland were safe and he didn’t need to play because, before, he was a little bit injured.”
Ireland’s other current injury concerns are Keith Fahey (groin) and Kevin Foley (hamstring) but, while the two players will continue to be monitored in Dublin over the coming week, the manager said that they would definitely be travelling to the pre-tournament training camp in Italy on Sunday week.
He also pointed out that he has up until the eve of kick-off against Croatia to replace any injured players. Trapattoni is also clearly aware of the effects of psychological wear and tear and fatigue which some players might be feeling at the end of a long club season, at one point specifically observing that Kevin Doyle had seemed “a little bit empty” in his last game of the season for relegated Wolves
“There are players who are very, very tired, like the Wolves (players) for example,” he said. “We have two friendly games coming up, and if I see them not ready I can make other choices. I have the duty to give them morale and help them for this situation, but I am not kamikaze.”
However, the manager also suggested that moving from club to country should in itself act as inspiration for all the players — and especially those who experienced disappointment or frustration in their domestic season.
“It’s important for the players, like at Wolves, to keep morale up. In the past I said the club is club and our shirt is Ireland. We have to be happy to be here, because they can have revenge with the Irish team, they can play better than with their club.”
Yesterday at Gannon Park in Malahide felt a lot like Day One in the Big Brother house, West Brom’s Simon Cox agreed with a smile, as he and nine team-mates (Keiren Westwood, David Forde, Sean St Ledger, Darren O’Dea, Kevin Foley, James McClean, Stephen Hunt, Keith Fahey and Darron Gibson) comprised the first wave of players to turn up in Dublin for what was a light training session to raise the curtain on the month of hard work to come.
After just a two-day break following the conclusion of the Premier League, Cox found himself immediately gearing up for another long haul, with a number of box-sets (Mad Men, The Wire and The Real Hustle) packed in his luggage alongside the trusty iPad.
More importantly, after a season spent too often warming the bench at the Hawthorns, his desire to make an impact at the Euros is only heightened by the prospect that any opportunity he gets to impress could also act as a shop window.
“I’ve already forgotten about that season now, that’s done. It’s a new era for me, a new chapter.
“You can’t really go in with a headache — you’re going to the Euros, not many of us have been here before so we’ll try and express ourselves and go with confidence.”
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