Giovanni Trapattoni needs to reconnect with his players
Ireland manager risked pushing James McCarthy away with careless words at a press conference
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni must freshen up his outdated man-management approach to embrace the exciting young talent currently at his disposal.
Trapattoni sparked controversy this week when he unwittingly revealed to the Irish press that he doesn’t even have Wigan midfielder James McCarthy phone number.
The Italian made the startling admission on Sunday when he revealed McCarthy, who again highlighted his potential with an exciting brace against Blackburn last weekend, had pulled out of the Ireland squad to face Wales in the Nations’ Cup on Tuesday night.
The 71-year-old appeared less than pleased at McCarthy’s decision to stay with Wigan to recover from an injury picked up at Ewood Park despite not discussing the withdrawal with him.
“When a player says ‘I want to be here’, it’s important,” Trapattoni was quoted as saying in the Irish Independent on Sunday.
However, on Monday Trapattoni backtracked on his comments after having spoken to Wigan boss Roberto Martinez about McCarthy’s fitness.
“He [McCarthy] has an injury,” said the Republic of Ireland manager. “He [Martinez] said Wigan are in a bad position in the table and he said maybe he should stay at home.
“I accept this because Martinez was very clear and I understood him. I wish to have him but I have to respect his opinion.”
The confusion created by Trapattoni’s outdated approach to man-management has led to suggestions the former Hamilton Academical midfielder may now instead opt to represent his native Scotland.
Under Fifa regulations, the uncapped 20-year-old is free to swap allegiances – and rumours suggested the Glasgow-born midfielder might switch camps following Trapattoni’s latest blunder.
Luckily for Ireland fans it appears the midfielder is still keen to represent the men in green after an unnamed source from within Wigan insisted McCarthy “wants to play for Ireland and is committed to getting fully fit and making the next squad”.
But Trapattoni risked losing one of Ireland’s brightest prospects – and his reign as Ireland boss is littered with similar communication problems.
He has publicly suggested Darren Gibson and Robbie Keane should leave their clubs or else face international exile, and even informed Kevin Kilbane of his exclusion from the current Irish squad via fax.
Remarkably, newly-capped Ireland international Ciaran Clarke revealed he’d never had any contact with Trapattoni until he joined up with the Ireland squad in Dublin last Sunday.
It is clear that the Ireland manager must learn to be more informal in the way he communicates with his squad to keep his players on-side and not risk alienating himself completely.