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Trap blast leaves Kelly’s international future in doubt

Stephen Kelly’s chances of featuring against Sweden and Austria appear slim following strong criticism from manager Giovanni Trapattoni today.

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

STEPHEN KELLY’S INTERNATIONAL future was thrown into doubt today after Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni slammed his “play or go home” attitude.

Kelly was not included in the squad for last night’s friendly win against Poland, though Trapattoni said at the time that the Reading defender was being rested.

Now it appears that his chances of making a return for next month’s crunch qualification double-header are slim after Trapattoni let loose in a press conference earlier today.

Kelly, 29, has not played competitively for Ireland since November 2011 and his place in Trap’s plans has been in the balance since a training ground row with assistant Marco Tardelli ahead of the trip to the Faroe Islands last October. Kelly then reportedly refused to board the plane and only relented when convinced by Trapattoni and senior FAI officials.

“You know why this situation happened with Kelly,” Trapattoni said today (listen here) when asked if he would be considered for the games against Sweden and Austria. “He said, ‘I play or I go home.’ Go home.

We need a squad. Paul Green was called at the last minute for injury and came with great enthusiasm on the pitch. That is the Irish players. They must be happy to come for his country, for his shirt.

He added: “It’s important that our players are available when they come in. Not ‘I am available if I play’ because only 11 players play.

“We have a squad, we have a team. They don’t say in their club ‘I’m going home if I don’t play.’ Why? Why not in England? I ask you – why only here?”

Asked to clarify Kelly’s status, Trap said:

I don’t know now because we have choices. We have Coleman. We have other players. Maybe yes, in the squad, or no.

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There was also some uncertainty about the international future of Darron Gibson, who declined a late call-up this week due to fitness concerns.

Gibson, who has only started one game for Everton since returning from a thigh strain, has been in self-imposed exile from international football since Euro 2012 but Trapattoni accepted the midfielder’s explanation for refusing this week’s call.

“He played only one game after one month out with injury. He wasn’t ready for this situation.”

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