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Rafa Benitez: 'You need to trust Trapattoni on McClean decision'

The former Liverpool boss also believes that Ireland’s opening Euro 2012 clash with Croatia in Poland will be crucial to their hopes of progressing.

Benitez with Robbie Keane in the background during his unsuccessful spell at Liverpool.
Benitez with Robbie Keane in the background during his unsuccessful spell at Liverpool.
Image: Barry Coombs/EMPICS Sport

FORMER LIVERPOOL BOSS Rafa Benitez has said that Republic of Ireland fans need to trust manager Giovanni Trapattoni over the ongoing issue of whether or not winger James McClean will be picked for Euro 2012.

Benitez was speaking in Dublin earlier this week where he was accepting an award from the Philosophical Society at Trinity College Dublin.

He said that it was still too early to decide on whether or not to bring the prodigious winger to the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

Yesterday, Trapattoni said he was still to decide whether or not to include McClean in his 23-man squad for games against Croatia, Spain and Italy this summer. But Benitez said that worried Irish fans need to trust the Italian.

“I have always the same idea,” he told the media. “The mangers, they know the player and you have to trust them because they see the players every day and every week and they have a lot of people around working and analysing things.”

“Sometimes we like to talk too early… we’re talking about two or three months away so we have to wait. Maybe you will have an injury and then maybe he will come in. So I think it’s too early to talk about this.”

Benitez also said that Ireland would have a good chance of progressing through the group if they got off to a good start in their opening game against Croatia in Poznan on 10 June.

“That could be the kind of crucial game for me because it’s the first one and it’s so important that you have confidence,” he said adding that it was possible that Ireland could get a draw against Spain in their next game four days later.

The Boys in Green will be led out by Robbie Keane, a player Benitez worked with at Liverpool during an unsuccessful six-month spell in 2008 and 2009.

The Spaniard insisted that he had wanted Keane at Anfield but acknowledged that it did not work out well for the boyhood Red.

“I was a little bit surprised with people saying that I was not backing, I was not supporting him. I was the first one. I was very, very interested in seeing him score goals because we signed him and I felt that he was a very good player for us.

“I signed the player, but it’s not going well so we have to find a solution,” he added. “But after he was not playing for Tottenham, they sent him to Celtic, and they sent him to West Ham on loan.

“So we were playing him but he was not going well and we have to find a solution.”

Read: Rafa Benitez on Chelsea talk: ‘If someone wants to make an offer, I will listen’

Read: Should he stay or should he go: Trap still weighing up McClean’s inclusion

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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