Euro 2012: Giovanni Trapattoni explains James McClean snub
Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni defends his decision to leave winger James McClean on the bench against Croatia
Giovanni Trapattoni has defended his decision to leave James McClean on the bench during the Republic of Ireland’s 3-1 defeat by Croatia on Sunday.
The exciting 23-year-old Sunderland winger had been tipped to shine in Poland and Ukraine after he enjoyed a breakthrough season in the Premier League.
But Trapattoni instead opted to bring on West Bromwich Albion’s Simon Cox in the 54th minute on Sunday, despite many supporters keen to see McClean given a chance to impress.
The 73-year-old manager said he felt the magnitude of occasion would have impeded McClean against Croatia but insists “his time will come”.
“Cox is one of the strikers but also at his club he can play right or left. He is also a striker in fact and in the past, has scored goals,” said Trapattoni.
“Our wingers yesterday were not too often in on goal. I ask you, how many goals has [Aiden] McGeady scored? How many goals has [Damien] Duff scored? They are our wingers.
“I have a duty. It would have been his first [competitive] game. When there are senior, experienced players in this situation, maybe there is tension. You can understand how much more tense a young player can be.
“It’s important we give them a quiet opportunity, not when we need their performance under pressure. It’s a heavy weight on his shoulders. McGeady is one of our best players, and Damien Duff the same. His time will come in the future.”