England v Republic of Ireland: Giovanni Trapattoni hoping for another victorious visit to Wembley

The sides meet tonight in a friendly match

It is half a century since Giovanni Trapattoni first walked out at Wembley. His job that day was to mark Eusebio, the best player in Europe; Trapattoni did as instructed and Milan won the European Cup. Fifty years down the line he is still doing his job, as efficient off the pitch as he was on it, and at the age of 74 still bubbling with an enthusiasm for the game that has occupied his life.

At the end of a season that has seen Sir Alex Ferguson call it a day aged 71, Trapattoni shows no sign of following suit. He trotted energetically out on to the Wembley turf again to take training having held court to the media with such passion that his flailing arms had his translator ducking for cover.

"I played against Pele, Eusebio – I didn't think about them as big players," said Trapattoni outlining how his players must approach if they are to succeed against his "good friend" Roy Hodgson's side. "I won the first European Cup for Milan against Benfica. We need to think all is possible in football."

Trapattoni has been in charge of Ireland for five years. Only Joachim Löw and Denmark's Morten Olsen, himself 63, have been at the helm of major European national sides for longer. It is no longer a secure tenancy – there have been calls for him to step down during a World Cup qualifying campaign that has included a 6-1 home defeat by Löw's Germans. But he is going nowhere, not while qualification for Brazil remains possible.

With that aim, this game, for all its emotional baggage, is for the Italian the most glorified of warm-ups for a home qualifier against the Faroe Islands on 7 June. Ireland play another friendly against Georgia and, post-Faroes, travel to the US for a friendly with Spain, but beating the Islanders matters the most in the struggle with Austria and Sweden to secure the runners-up spot behind Germany.

"Our aim is about the Faroes," said Trapattoni, an opinion seconded by his captain Robbie Keane. "I have to preserve the energy for the Faroes."

Keane, who arrived in London fresh from a hat-trick for LA Galaxy, will partner Shane Long in attack for the first such fixture since the abandoned match in 1995. Keane, aged 14, was at Lansdowne Road that night.

"It was the first time I've seen anything like that," he said. "It wasn't nice. I think in every aspect we have moved on. It's time to put everything that happened to bed."

News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?