Liam Lawrence has slammed Jamie O'Hara and Jermaine Pennant for publicly 'juggling between Ireland and England', something he says the Republic of Ireland squad find insulting.
Pennant recently declared an interest in playing for Ireland, havingbecome convinced he had no future with England, while Tottenham's O'Hara, currently on loan at Wolves, said he would welcome an Irish callup, but only if he knew he would never play for his home country.
Hailing from Nottinghamshire himself, Lawrence, who qualifies through a Kerry-born grandfather, is acutely aware of the etiquette involved in declaring for Ireland and while he is thankful he made the choice he believes Pennant and O'Hara are going about it the wrong way.
'The only thing I know upsets us, if you like, the only thing is when people are trying to juggle between England and Ireland, that's theonly issue really there. And it is not just me that's saying that,' said the Portsmouth midfielder, referring to the rest of the Irish squad.
'We honestly don't dislike these people. It is just some of the comments that these people come out with when they're saying they are juggling between Ireland and England, you just don't do it, do you?' he added.
Lawrence became aware of his eligibility while playing under Mick McCarthy and Nick Evans at Sunderland. He was called up by Steve Staunton for his first game in charge back in 2006 but had to wait untilthe summer of 2009 to make his debut, against Nigeria in Craven Cottage.
This gave the man from Retford in the east midlands of England time to consider the position he found himself in and he insists he was very conscious of not offending Irish sensibilities.
Despite having no links to this country beyond an estranged grandfather, Jimmy Diggins, and some relatives in Athlone, Lawrence saidhe never spoke of English ambitions or aspirations, knowing it would upset his new team-mates.
'What with the accent and all the rest of it and being born over there? Yeah, maybe I was nervous if you like when I first came over and Iknow it is always in the back of people's minds, things like that,' said the 29-year-old.
Stoke winger Pennant, who would have been a clubmate of Lawrence's for a brief time before the Ireland international's move to Portsmouth, made this mistake in the very interview where he revealed his Irish ambitions.
'I'm 28, I'm not getting any younger and I'd like to play international football, whether it's with England or Ireland,' said the former Arsenal, Liverpool and Birmingham player on radio earlier this month.
Going green: Republic of Ireland's Liam Lawrence (right)
In the case of O'Hara, like Lawrence five years ago, former Ireland manager McCarthy is once again acting as an FAI recruitment officer, theWolves manager saying recently he has been 'right in his earhole' aboutswitching allegiance.
However O'Hara continues to mention Ireland and England in the same breath, something which Lawrence is less than happy about.
'No, it doesn't look good, does it? You know, for an Irish man, to say that,' he said. 'I would never juggle them.'
Ever since Manchester-born Shay Brennan became the first Irish international to qualify through the parentage rule, in 1965, the FAI have enthusiastically sought to bolster the nation's relatively meagre footballing resources by trawling the British leagues for players of Irish descent.
The success of the Charlton years owed much to the likes of Ray Houghton, Tony Cascarino and John Aldridge, and while there have been amusing anecdotes - such as Terry Mancini complaining that Poland's anthem 'went on a bit' when in fact it was Amhran na bhFiann playing before his debut, or Tony Cascarino thinking An Taoiseach Charlie Haughey 'owned a teashop' - most British born players to represent the Republic have never had their commitment questioned.
Former England under-19 and under-20 captain Ciaran Clark could potentially start his first competitive international against Macedonia on Saturday night having made his debut against Wales last month.
The Aston Villa defender quickly declared for Ireland late last yearwhen approached by the FAI and his nationality was never an issue. It was not merely on matters of eligibility that Lawrence, a veteran of 13 caps, was sounding off on yesterday. He also suggested that Trapattoni'sloyalty to his rigid formation may be to Ireland's detriment.
'I think the Russia game was a prime example of that. The first 50 minutes we played 4-4-2 and got the runaround a little bit. When we changed, we nearly got back in the game. Sometimes, it's done well for us.'
Trapattoni's Ireland have always lined out in a 4-4-2 formation but Lawrence, who harbours ambitions of playing in central role at international level, believes there should be scope for more flexibility.
'I think sometimes, the old cliche "horses for courses" - certain formations against certain teams. But I think now, a lot of teams are playing with the three in the middle, and the two wide and the one up front.'
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