Trapattoni back in firing line

Giovanni Trapattoni announces his squad for the World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands and the end of season friendlies against England, Georgia and Spain in Carrick-on-Shannon today but the media present will be initially concerned with seeking clarity about the manager’s future.

The issue might have dogged the Italian since last summer’s European Championship finals but the difference this time is that the speculation has been prompted by his own words in an interview with an Italian newspaper.

Quoted by Il Mattino, the 74-year-old appeared to hint he would be interested in becoming the manager of Napoli, the club where current boss Walter Mazzari has yet to agree a new deal after his contract runs out in June.

“I always want to win. Even returning to a Serie A side like Napoli — why not?

“Am I putting myself forward for the job? Everyone knows my motto: never say never,” he said. “I also tell club presidents: ‘don’t look at my birth certificate, because that doesn’t reflect my real age’.”

However, given that ‘never say never’ is indeed something of a catch-all answer for Trapattoni when linked to any number of jobs, he will probably want to put the focus firmly back on the job in hand in Leitrim this morning when expected to announce an extended squad for Ireland’s hectic end of season.

The provisional nature of the panel will be a given, since the manager needs no reminding there is still a full series of games to be played in the Premier League and that, even leaving potential injuries aside, a number of his players are likely to be excused the trip to New York after the friendlies against England at Wembley (May 29) and Georgia at the Aviva Stadium (June 2) and the World Cup qualifier at home to the Faroe Islands on June 7.

Trapattoni already knows he will be without Keith Andrews who underwent surgery on a recurring Achilles problem and is working on his rehab with specialists in Qatar.

Also confirmed out is Aston Villa’s Richard Dunne, who has not played any football in nearly a year as he continues his long recovery from a complicated groin problem.

Meanwhile Glenn Whelan remains a doubt with a groin problem but the better news of Trap is that Whelan’s Stoke team-mate Marc Wilson has returned to action for the club.


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