• World Cup qualifying

Trapattoni forced to cool Kelly row

ESPN staff
October 15, 2012
Giovanni Trapattoni is a man under pressure © PA Photos

Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni had to step in to end a row between his assistant Marco Tardelli and defender Stephen Kelly.

The two became involved in an argument at the end of a training session as the players - beaten 6-1 by Germany on Friday - prepared to take on the Faroe Islands in another World Cup qualifier on Tuesday.

Kelly, who did not play in the Germany humiliation, was reportedly ready to refuse to board the team plane to the Faroes until Trapattoni, along with other Republic officials, stepped in to calm tensions.

But the incident is another difficulty for the beleaguered Italian, who saw the pressure on him increase further after Joachim Low's Germany ran riot.

Independent.ie reported that sources had claimed Trapattoni could be sacked after the Faroe Islands game, despite the hefty pay-off that would involve.

The report said the coach no longer had the total support of the Irish FA and quoted a "senior FAI source" as saying Trapattoni "would not be sacked between matches". "Whatever happens won't happen until after tomorrow night," the source was reported as saying.

In a further headache for Trapattoni, Kelly said the coach's repeated attempts to persuade Damien Duff to come out of international retirement should be "nipped in the bud".

Kelly, a team-mate of the winger at Fulham, said Duff's decision to quit the international game should be respected and that Trapattoni and his staff should keep details of conversations with him private.

He said Duff had taken the decision to retire happily and told the Sunday Independent: "Every interview I do, people keep asking me about it - it's more coming from the fact that the manager's talking about it.

"As far as I'm concerned, Damien's retired. He's a really good friend of mine, and he's made the decision for himself and for his family. I think it's strange that they keep going on about it. The media keep going on about it because the manager's talking about it.

"I think it's strange that the manager and staff keep bringing it up. If they have any private conversations with Damien, just leave it at that. I think it should be nipped in the bud. The speculation is ridiculous and it's been dragged on for no reason."

Trapattoni had voiced hopes that Duff, who retired in August after winning 100 caps, could have been persuaded to play against Germany.

Kelly said he was frustrated not to have played in Ireland's Euro 2012 campaign, in which they crashed out in the group stages and failed to pick up a point.

"I felt I played a huge part in the game that got us to the Euros [against Estonia] in Tallinn," he said. "I've given a lot to the team. To be perfectly honest, if anyone is to feel aggrieved at not playing, I think I have the strongest case."

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