GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI last night denied reports that he claimed Darron Gibson would have to leave Manchester United in order to further his international career.
The Italian told reporters last Saturday the Derry-born midfielder needed to add some bite to his game but many of his utterances are often lost in translation and one Ulster newspaper subsequently quoted him as saying that Gibson would only add such an element to his armoury away from Old Trafford.
The player took exception to that version of events – which was disputed by most of the journalists who had been in attendance – and told the Derry Journal his international manager must have been ‘having a laugh’.
“What I told him was that, for him, the action is not finished when he does not have the ball,” Trapattoni said. “I told him that in this great team (United) it is not easy to play in this situation because he plays with ten great players and when these great players have the ball they play. He must ask for the ball, he must want the ball. That is important. He has to work to get the ball. He has fantastic vision and the long ball and he has a good personality with the ball.”
However, Gibson was clearly under the impression that the 71-year old was advising him to seek pastures new when he made his feelings abundantly clear with quotes that emerged shortly before the game.
“If Trapattoni wants me to move on from a club like Manchester United to better my game, move to somewhere like Stoke where I’ll get more games but have little chance of winning anything, then I just don’t know,” he said.
“At what club, other than Manchester United, could I go to improve my game? To be honest, if he’s trying to say that I should move somewhere like Stoke City and change my game to winning tackles and not winning games, then he’s having a laugh. To move on from Manchester United just doesn’t make sense to me.”
Gibson came on for Glenn Whelan after an hour of last night’s 3-1 win over Andorra at the Aviva and Trapattoni expressed himself to be more or less satisfied with the evening’s events.
“Yesterday I predicted that with the weather a little better we could play better in the second game. I hoped we would score more goals. In fact, that happened. I am glad, not only for the result, but because the team understood immediately.
“We spoke about enthusiasm and Kevin Doyle’s goal was a beautiful goal, a fantastic goal. It was a pity to concede and they had only one shot on the goal. We had a good reaction in the second-half. We played with good personality, good energy and the team now play as I like.”
The game was overshadowed by Slovakia’s 1-0 win in Moscow earlier. “I was not surprised,” said the Irish manager. “Russia played well but they made a mistake and Slovakia scored a goal. That is football. Slovakia won in the 90th minute in their first game and they win this game now as well. These teams will be competing for the top like us.”
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