Monday 11 December 2017

Advocaat rues stars' inactivity

SIMILAR age, similar background, and Giovanni Trapattoni and Dick Advocaat have the same problem as well -- too many of their footballers are not playing enough football, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

Ireland go into Friday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Russia knowing that four of the starting line-up -- Shay Given, Kevin Kilbane, Glenn Whelan and Robbie Keane -- have started very few games for their clubs recently.

And it's a Russian problem too as English-based players such as Diniyar Balyaletdinov (Everton) and Yuri Zhirkov have also played little or no football this season.

And things are also as bad at home, as the presence of so many foreign players in the Russian league leaves room for not as many Russian players as Advocaat or Russian fans would like.

"Yesterday we organised a special training session for Bilyaletdinov, Zhirkov and Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow) so they could get some practice in," says Advocaat. "I would prefer if they were getting match practice at their clubs, but that's not the case.

"It's not good for our team when the players don't have match practice. You can understand it when it's Russian players abroad, that can be explained. But there a lot more questions about why the players from the national team do not get to play for their clubs in Russia," added Advocaat.

Russia were due to train again in Moscow today at 8.30am Irish time before moving camp to Dublin. After they play Ireland they will spend the rest of the weekend here, training on Saturday and early on Sunday before flying to Skopje for their next game against Macedonia.

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