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‘We are not England’ – Trap showed he doesn’t speak our language and doesn’t get us

The manager’s post-match comments spoke volumes.

“Why? Why? You remember we are Ireland. We think we are German or English. We are Ireland. We are a good position. We are in this place with one point the play-off against Austria the difference in the table, why not? Ciao.”

THIS WAS Giovanni Trapattoni’s reaction, to a question from RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue, of whether his future as Ireland manager is in doubt after last night’s draw with Austria at Lansdowne Road.

Trapattoni’s post-match interview explained exactly why Ireland needs a new manager.

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” So said Nelson Mandela.

It bears wondering: what language does Trapattoni speak and does anybody understand?

This is a serious question; it is not meant as a barb at a man speaking a foreign language to a national media. If he cannot communicate clearly and effectively with the media then surely his players must experience similar difficulties.

If a player cannot understand Trapattoni’s broken English then he will not understand tactical instructions and the Italian’s poor grasp of the language limits his communication with his players at a deeper level. Players look to managers for inspiration, guidance and leadership.

Liam Brady: ‘I can’t believe some of the questions that were asked’. Pic: RTÉ

Ireland lacked leadership in the second half of the Austrian match. Trapattoni made changes too late and, when they came, they were perplexing. Sammon’s legs were gone after an hour. He played the 90. Shane Long was replaced with only 10 minutes left. He told RTÉ he was not tired. Ireland had a substitute left in injury time. Trapattoni stood idly by while constant Austrian pressure finally took shape in David Alaba’s deflected strike.

It was mismanagement that proved costly. It was negligent. It was not surprising.

Leadership

The Irish players, as they did against Sweden, performed admirably. They deserved to win. They deserve a manager who will equip them with the strengths to win.

Of course, the issue of Trapattoni’s future goes beyond the sad events at the Aviva on a snowy Tuesday night in March. As Eamon Dunphy said in the RTÉ studio: “What we have to consider here is what’s best for the future of Irish football, at this level?” But it even goes beyond Irish football at senior level.

Ireland should have grasped the opportunity presented by the introduction of young blood into the senior squad, such as Coleman, McClean, Brady, Long, and Clark to cultivate an atmosphere of positive football that could reverberate through the ranks down to the grassroots. Trapattoni is not suited to this task.

Unless young players develop in an encouraging football environment, there will always be a lack of real quality throughout the senior side. It is too late targeting improvement at senior level; Irish football needs a more sustainable philosophy.

If he is to stay in charge, Trapattoni should remember: we are Ireland.

No matter the opposition, somewhere in the core of the country’s psyche, a win seems possible. This is the Irish spirit. Perhaps oppression and conflict have tempered the Irish mentality to never give up and always believe in better.

Trapattoni does not understand it. He cannot evoke it in the changing room. Perhaps Manuela Spinelli cannot even translate it.

We are Ireland. Barriers should not be placed on our talent or expectations.

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About the author:

Kealan McGuinness

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