The Republic of Ireland manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, has attempted to bring an end to the ongoing debate over Stephen Ireland and Andy Reid. The 69-year-old Italian yesterday named his squad for next month's World Cup qualifier against Georgia, and neither man was included.
Until a few days ago speculation was rife that 22-year-old Manchester City midfielder Ireland would end his self-imposed exile and return to the international fold. He is in the form of his life for his club and Trapattoni had made no secret of his desire to see one of the more talented men available to him play for his country once again. But after waiting in vain for an answer, and leaving Sunderland's Reid in little doubt as to his place in the pecking order, he turned his attention to the 25 players he has called up for the game at Croke Park on 11 February.
"My habit for 30 years has been I never speak about private situations – not only Reid or Ireland, but all players," Trapattoni said. "I choose a system. I think about Andy Reid and Lee Carsley and Ireland. I need the players to repeat, repeat and repeat this system and we have a problem. Three or four of our players play always for their clubs, but others don't."
Steve Finnan, whose proposed move from Espanyol to Hull stalled over the weekend, and Stephen Kelly return to the squad after injury.
Ireland are just three points adrift of the Group Eight leaders, the world champions Italy, with a game in hand.Reuse content