herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Timing odd for Trap to try and cut a new deal

Pitch for contract now makes little sense

GIOVANNI Trapattoni has an unbreakable belief in his own legend and is never shy about singing his own praises.

It's an old routine for those of us who watch Trapattoni for a living but it has no relevance to the issue of his future with the Irish international team.

Everyone is more than aware of his weighty CV at this stage but Ireland fans are much more interested in the here and now.

Does he really deserve a new deal from the FAI, even if, as has been suggested, he is prepared to drop his salary demand by as much as 50pc?

Certainly not on the basis of what he has done so far. Like Ashley Cole's ex-missus, Trap knows that he's worth it, but he is also fully aware that the currency he deals in is results and he hasn't delivered the only one that really counts -- qualification.



Overture

He is entitled to make his pitch for a new contract but the timing of his latest overture to FAI CEO John Delaney makes little sense given the proximity to the decisive action in Euro 2012 Qualification Group B and an obvious and understandable reluctance to commit by anyone of consequence out in Abbotstown.

Trapattoni's coy but unsubtle mutterings about other interested parties waiting in the wings might have had some impact when he was chasing his first renewal, but not now.

There is a clear problem with filling the Aviva and surely serious financial consequences if that situation persists.

Delaney and the FAI Board are hoping that time and results will make their decision easier.

At the moment they hold all the cards but that changes the moment a play-off is confirmed.

At that point, the power balance shifts back to Trap and if a Slovak Gary McKay delivers the result which would hand Ireland the Group, they can forget about wage restraint out in Abbotstown.

He'll be looking for a 50pc increase in his salary and a hefty bonus.

"We deserve it," said Trap, playing a smart provisional ball. "Look at the rankings, look at the rankings.

"We deserve it but it is up to the federation. We have made progress and we would like to finish the job."

Trapattoni also wondered why the FAI would want to break in a new man who would have to "start all over again".

This is Trapattoni's most persuasive argument. Continuity is always better than crisis and nobody has the heart for another madcap mid-winter FAI X Factor talent search. The world is a depressing enough place without that.

Once Trapattoni had delivered his sales pitch, he moved on to more practical matters and, specifically, the logistics and manipulations which will be required to ensure his strongest team is available to meet Armenia at the Aviva on October 7.

Robbie Keane's travel arrangements have been scrutinised and Trapattoni is happy to allow his skipper to make the call on whether he should face Andorra, just three days after a game for LA Galaxy with a brutal long haul journey in between.

"Robbie told me he wants to play for his country," said Trapattoni. "He will tell me if he can play or not."

Trapattoni is loathe to make too many changes to his team despite the issue of yellow cards held by key men like Glenn Whelan and Kevin Doyle.

"We must not underestimate Andorra," he said. "It will be a tough, tough game. I can only think about one or two changes.



Problem

"Maybe if Robbie is tired, I can change a striker. This is no problem. We have options like Long or Walters."

This will come as a nasty shock to Shane Long, who must have thought that he had won his battle for first team recognition.

It's never wise to second-guess Trapattoni and a throw-away remark yesterday indicated that Long has perhaps dirtied his bib.

"Long played for his club a few days after the Russia game," said Trapattoni.

"This is always the way with Irish players. I don't know why."

Trapattoni is hardly suggesting that Long's commitment is lacking -- more likely that he is too ready to play with an injury when he should have his feet up.

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