The Republic of Ireland winger James McClean has publicly apologised for an abrasive tweet that appeared to criticise manager Giovanni Trapattoni following the team's desperate late 2-1 win away to Kazakhstan. The player also went on to delete his Twitter account for the second time in a year.
Having been left on the bench for the entirety of the 90 minutes, a frustrated McClean wrote: "Delighted as a fan we got the win. Personal level #fuming #fuckinjoke #embarrassing."
The tweet was quickly deleted and, on arriving in London for Ireland's Tuesday friendly at Craven Cottage against Oman, McClean finally followed up with an inevitable apology.
Writing on the social media site again, he stated: "i apologise for my tweet last night, it was stupid, disrespectful and i let my frustration get the better of me which still aint an excuse".
This isn't the first time the forthright Derry native has been outspoken about the international team. In the aftermath of Ireland's final defeat of Euro 2012, against Italy, the winger described the tournament as "a shambles".
He also reportedly stormed out of the team meeting ahead of that game, having learned that Trapattoni was going to stay loyal to his first-choice starting line-up.
Despite the apology, McClean's initial tweet does illustrate a very real level of discontent among a significant section of the Irish squad that has only grown since Euro 2012.
With a number of players understood to be frustrated and often "perplexed" – according to one source – by the manager's selection policy and general approach, another outcast, Steven Reid, wrote a critical column in the Irish Independent yesterday in which he questioned the manager's man-management skills.
"Trapattoni certainly has a unique way of making a player feel good about himself. It always seems to come back to communication. His comments about my clubmate Shane Long [in which Trapattoni called Long "idiotic" after the recent Serbia friendly], are another example."
After Friday night's poor performance against Kazakhstan, the issue has escalated into a debate over whether Trapattoni should keep his job. Most notably, during the national broadcaster RTE's post-match discussion a heated debate over the Italian's position ensued between Liam Brady, who has been employed by the Italian as a player and coach, and former international Richie Sadlier.
The Wales manager, Chris Coleman, has told his players they cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves as they look to get their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track. The Dragons got off to a losing start as they went down 2-0 to Belgium at Cardiff City Stadium on Friday night, but Coleman insisted, "We have to look at the positives from this performance, and there were plenty of them.
"We have to take them across to Serbia, and if we repeat many aspects of how we played against Belgium we will get a result, no doubt about it."