International round-up: Angry Ian Harte labels Ireland coach Giovanni Trapattoni a 'clown'

 

The Reading left-back Ian Harte has called the Republic of Ireland manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, a "clown" after being overlooked for selection.

Harte, who has 63 Ireland caps but won the last of those in 2007, has not been considered for the national team since Trapattoni took over from Steve Staunton in May 2008.

In a question-and-answer session on Twitter, Harte tweeted: "To all the people asking if I have retired from international football. No I haven't. Trap didn't even know I was Irish #whataclown."

The Derby County striker Conor Sammon will be handed his senior debut against Poland tonight. Sammon will partner West Bromwich Albion's Shane Long in attack as Trapattoni takes a look at some of the new men he has drafted into his squad.

Chris Coleman, the Wales manager, believes his squad to face Austria in Swansea tonight is the strongest of his time in charge, and knows there will be no excuses for a poor performance.

Coleman's first 12 months managing Wales have been difficult, with his side winning just once in six games. His chances of building on the foundations laid by the late Gary Speed have been hurt by withdrawals and injuries, with Wayne Hennessey and Neil Taylor long-term absentees.

Striker Steve Morison, plus centre-halves James Collins and Darcy Blake are among those missing for tonight's game at the Liberty Stadium, but Coleman believes that, with Craig Bellamy back in the side and Gareth Bale in fine form, this is as good a line-up as he has yet been able to work with.

He said: "The turnout has been good. The guys have all turned up for duty and they are looking good and ready for the game, this is probably the strongest squad of my time in charge. When I named the squad I said it was a strong squad but would everyone be available? We had to get through the weekend, of course, but I was delighted and the boys have been excellent over the last few days."

The Italy coach, Cesare Prandelli, is pleased at Mario Balotelli's return to the country. "In Milan we can keep a better eye on him, both on and off the pitch," Prandelli said.

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