DAMIEN DUFF says he's "a million percent" certain that Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni will recover from his health scare and lead the Irish team into battle for the start of the European Championship qualifiers in Armenia next month.
he Irish boss sent a text from his hospital bed congratulating captain Robbie Keane on the occasion of his 100th cap and commiserating with Keane for the 1-0 loss to a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina last night.
The 71-year-old underwent surgery yesterday and there were fears that his age could prevent him from making the long trek -- a six-hour flight -- to Armenia in just under three weeks' time, but Fulham star Duff says he has no doubt that Trapattoni will take back the reins from assistant Marco Tardelli.
"He will be back in a couple of weeks, I have no doubt about that. It's not even an issue for me, I think it's a million per cent that Giovanni will be on that plane to Armenia and will be in the dugout shouting instructions at us," Duff said today.
"I know he was devastated to miss last night but he will be back. Marco did a great job last night but there wasn't a whole lot he could do as our sharpness just wasn't there as it was pre-season for us. Marco did a great job for the game but I have no doubt that Trap will be back very soon."
And FAI Chief Executive John Delaney also insisted that Trapattoni will be on the plane to Armenia when the Irish squad jet out of Dublin in just 20 days' time for the start of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
It was feared that due to Trapattoni's age -- he turns 72 next March -- and the arduous nature of the trip to Armenia, that the Irish boss would not be physically fit to take charge of the side for that September 3rd game away to Armenia, who themselves had a disappointing friendly defeat at home last night, 3-1 to Iran.
But today, Delaney made it clear that Trapattoni would be on that flight and in the dugout in the Hrazdan Stadium when the Euro 2012 campaign kicks off.
"He will be with us on the plane to Armenia," Delaney told the Evening Herald today. "He's 71-years-old but he has the mentality of someone much younger than that.
"I have no worries about the travel to Yerevan or the length of the flight, I spoke to the doctor Alan Byrne about that throughout the day and he has no fears about that.
"The most important thing is that it was a minor operation that went well and there were no added complications. I will go and visit him today but from what I know now, he will definitely be with us for Armenia and then the Andorra game at home.
"He was very keen to see the game, I know he was trying to hook Sky Sports into his room in hospital last night. He spoke to Marco after the game and I think he texted Robbie too so he was aware of what was going on. His wife is over, his son has been over and I have no doubts, he will be fine."