Giovanni Trapattoni maintains he has made no final decision yet about which players will be omitted from the squad for the European Championship finals in June.
In an unusual step, the FAI released a clarification from the manager yesterday in response to media coverage of comments he made at his press conference on Thursday morning after the previous night’s 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic at the Aviva Stadium.
“Following a review of coverage in today’s papers, Giovanni Trapattoni was keen to counter some very strong speculation about omissions from the Irish squad travelling to Euro 2012,” the FAI statement read.
“Giovanni felt that it is important to highlight that nothing has been set in stone as regards his selections, and he will continue to monitor all players during the coming months.”
At his press conference on Thursday, Trapattoni at one point described both James McClean and James McCarthy as being “too young” for the Euros, which, taken in tandem with other remarks in which he emphasised his preference for “experienced” players and reiterated his commitment to the bulk of the squad which achieved qualification, led many in the press to conclude that McClean, McCarthy and Seamus Coleman were – barring injuries to established players – already effectively out of the running for a place on the plane to Poland.
This isn’t the first time that, given his limited English, a gap has emerged between what the manager says and what he means. But Trapattoni has now sought to clarify that, with three months still to go to the tournament, he has made no definitive decision yet about the players who will miss out on the 23 places available.
Clearly, this is intended as a message for those players who fear their hopes for inclusion have already been extinguished but, with McClean having only received a brief outing on Wednesday night while McCarthy and Coleman remained firmly rooted to the bench. However, the strong impression remains that – again, barring injury or other unforeseen circumstances – the bulk of the Euros squad will have a very familiar look about it.
On the face of it, the big mover as a result of the game against the Czechs was Paul Green. Although not named in the original squad, the Derby County midfielder came off the bench while James McCarthy stayed put and, after a seven-month absence from the game through injury, Green now seems in pole position to claim one of the eight midfield berths in the Euros panel.
May 29 is the deadline for tendering of the final squad to Uefa but Trapattoni plans to have his 23-man panel in place for the farewell game against Bosnia in Dublin on May 26.
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