Yellow peril: Republic boss Trapattoni won't risk bans ahead of play-offs

13 October 2009 11:02
Giovanni Trapattoni has told his squad he may not risk outfield players on yellow cards in their final World Cup qualifier.

Although the Ireland manager is prepared to make an exception for Shay Given so the goalkeeper can join close friend Kevin Kilbane in celebrating his 100th cap, Trapattoni is unlikely to risk Keith Andrews, Aiden McGeady, Paul McShane and Leon Best against Montenegro. Trapattoni will make a point of discussing discipline with Manchester City keeper Given. 

`Normally the goalkeepers, unless they talk too much, they shouldn't have a problem so I will speak to him about that as I am sure he will want to play,' he said.

On guard: Shay Given is one of several players on a yellow card

But his assistant Marco Tardelli admitted Trapattoni may decide not to risk the mood of Slovakian referee Vladimir Hrinak, who is in charge of Wednesday's game. `We want to win the game,' Tardelli said. `But it may not be worth the risk.'

Although he has less cover in central midfield with Glenn Whelan already suspended after he picked up his second booking on Saturday, Trapattoni's biggest decision surrounds Blackburn midfielder Keith Andrews, who was booked against Georgia in February.

And Coventry City striker Leon Best, who impressed as a second-half replacement for Kevin Doyle, looks certain to miss out after he was booked for fouling Daniele De Rossi within minutes of coming on.

The Championship player of the month admitted it was a huge personal blow as he felt he had done enough to earn his first competitive start against an under-strength Montenegro team which is without star players Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic.

Plans: Giovanni Trapattoni

Best said: `The gaffer has mentioned that he might not play players with yellow cards. I'm disappointed with that because I was fouled before I got the yellow and that was a bit of a downer for me because this could have been a game when I could have started.

`There is still a possibility I'll play but if I'm not involved I will be disappointed. But it does make sense. We'd love to win and we'll be out there to win it but it makes a lot of sense because the game after this one is a lot more important.'

Speaking after training in Malahide, 23-year-old Best revealed his caution also caused some consternation among his family who were at Croke Park to see his fourth appearance for Ireland.

His mum Irene, who flew in from England for the match, was actually only watching her son for the eighth time and she was particularly upset, Best revealed.

`The atmosphere and things like that go over her head,' he said. `She doesn't like football but she came to watch me with my brothers, uncles, aunts, my missus and her parents, which was another boost for me.

`But she was disappointed I got the yellow. She told me off and just said: 'Why did he give you the yellow?' I blamed it all on De Rossi.'

Like Caleb Folan, Best is cementing a regular place in Trapattoni's squad since impressing at the end of last season when he made his first start against Nigeria.

The Nottingham-born striker, who was brought up in Bluebell, Dublin, said the Italian's faith gave him a lift before the start of the new season under Chris Coleman and alongside Clinton Morrison, who still harbours Irish ambitions.

Best added: `Me and Clint get on well on and off the pitch and I speak to him a lot. He's very disappointed he's not involved anymore and he'd love to be back in.

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`I've taken a lot of confidence from being with Ireland and the manager having faith in me and I have been scoring a lot of goals for Coventry which was my hope. We've been playing well again and the spur of it for me was being called up.

`Everything has been a learning curve which I have loved. All the confidence, all the goals with Coventry has definitely come from getting into the international set-up. When I got called in, it had been a disappointing season for me but it just gave me that hope.

`I was pleased with how it went on Saturday. I was just told to put myself about a bit, win headers, hold the ball up, win free kicks and that's why I tried to do. It's hard coming into a game like that but hopefully I'll come on again in another big game or start. I won a few headers, got a few free kicks, got that yellow card but I just wanted to help the team as much as I could.'

Meanwhile, Greece is the word for Ireland's assistant manager Tardelli. The Italian legend says he has a preference for Greece, who won Euro 2004 in Portugal when Trapattoni was in charge of Italy.

And of all the four seeded sides in the European play-offs, Tardelli hopes to avoid former world and European champions France.

Like his mentor and manager Trapattoni, Ireland No 2 Tardelli is hoping the one consolation from next week's draw will be an away leg first.

Tardelli said: `All the teams are very good but I would prefer Greece because Greece is a team like us. They are very passionate and have character and maybe are less technical and less tactical.

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`I think they are the team for us. Greece won the European Championships and showed that in football everything is possible. They are an example to follow.

`I would prefer not to meet France, because France have many good players, as do Portugal. France would be the worst draw because they have many good players like Ribery, Benzema, Henry and Trezeguet who can win games.'

Tardelli has also revealed the Irish set-up are hopeful that Blackburn midfielder Steven Reid will be fit to face any side in next month's play-offs after pulling out of this month's squad with a fresh achilles injury.

Reid has not played for Ireland since the draw in Montenegro more than a year ago and his comeback this season has been put on hold by various niggling injuries which eventually forced him to withdraw earlier in the month.

Tardelli said: `I hope he is fit because I went to see Steven Reid three times and he played very well but he is not match fit. I hope he feels well enough then it is possible to see him back. He is a good player and he played well against Montenegro, I remember.'

With the disappointment of Saturday's late draw still hanging over the squad, and the Italian contingent in particular, Tardelli has been receiving calls of encouragement from back home and helping to lift the spirits of the Ireland squad.

And attention has already moved on to Century Night for Shay Given and Kevin Kilbane.

He added: `I was very sad because there was a great possibility to beat the world champions. It was important for the players and for the fans and it was very emotional.

`The players are good now. Giovanni said they played well and it was not the fault of any particular player. Everybody saw the match and everybody thinks we could have won that match because we played very well.

`As a player I could physically get rid of the frustration but now the referee tells me to go away and sit down, but I can never sit down. Now we can look forward to this game and we want to win it. I am very envious (of Given and Kilbane) because I played only 85 matches for my country and they must be very proud to play 100 matches.'

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Source: Daily_Mail