absent friends

'If I was a man, this would not have happened' - Pauw not for turning as player row drags on

Tyler Toland remains estranged from the Ireland camp.

A PRESS CONFERENCE to mark a squad announcement, which was only going to throw up one main line of questioning.

vera-pauw Tommy Dickson / INPHO Vera Pauw speaking to the media yesterday. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

One which wasn’t going to be centred on any of the 23 players named in the Ireland squad for an upcoming double-header of international friendlies against Iceland.

It was going to focus on one long-term absentee: Tyler Toland.

The 19-year-old — on the books of Manchester City, though spending the season on loan at Glasgow City — hasn’t been included in the Girls in Green squad since the Euro qualifier against Greece in Athens in November 2019, where she was an unused substitute, having excelled before Pauw’s arrival.

Ireland boss Vera Pauw yesterday dug her heels in further, re-iterating some words from an explosive press conference last month. The main message that day? “Tyler needs to call me, and explain how she thinks that she can come back into the squad.”

“Maybe a bit of guts would help her,” the Dutchwoman added at one point, also alleging that she had been subjected to “harassment and intimidation” by Toland’s father, Maurice — claims he vehemently denied as “ludicrous” afterwards, as he called on the FAI to intervene.

In another heated media briefing yesterday, Pauw said that she remained waiting for a call from the Donegal teenager and that she is “trying to save her career”.

“I have no problem with Tyler Toland,” the boss said. “I want to repeat that. She, and her father, and probably more her father than she, has a problem with me because she was not in the line-up.”

Pauw also believes that this situation has unfolded generally because she’s a female coach.

“Women coaches in football have it harder than male coaches in football. Let’s say it like that,” she said. “Because we are women.

“We have to have elephant skin, we say. If I was a man, this would not have happened.”


tyler-toland Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Tyler Toland on the ball for Ireland in 2019. Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

Asked why she doesn’t take the initiative as the team’s coach and pick up the phone to the player to ‘break the ice’, Pauw said: “I say it’s my expertise as a coach to save her career.

“She’s in the stands now at Glasgow City. The issue of Tyler is becoming something big, where the thing is as a player, if you turn your back, and you don’t want to put on the green jersey, because you [Toland] think I put her on the bench because of other reasons than technical, then I can explain that’s not the case. Then she needs to show that she wants to put on the green jersey. And if you agree with each other to call, then you call.”

“Shall we talk football?” Pauw added, “I would rather talk football, because we don’t solve it here. I wish we could solve it with each other, because everybody could do without that. And I think we have a squad that is very supportive. We have a squad that wants to grow, that wants to go forward, that sticks together, which is a very important asset. And we have got huge talents coming in, talents that can grow only further and further. Ireland, if we keep going in this way, will be in the top tier within a few years. There is no doubt about it.”


The Ireland boss went on to talk a little more about the upcoming friendlies against Iceland in Reykjavic on Friday, 11 June, and Tuesday, 15 June.

Departing from Dublin on Monday via a chartered flight, 17th-ranked Iceland come as a welcome challenge for Pauw’s side — currently 34th — as preparations ramp up and positions are nailed down for September’s World Cup qualification campaign.

“The aim is really to win. We will use the first game to set dots on the i for the second game.

“We said last time [in 1-0 friendly losses to Denmark and Belgium] that every player must get game time but that is not the case now as we are close to the qualification matches and when the new players show that we need to see them in the game, they will play.

“It is still friendly, it is development, but it’s related to the result this time.”

“We are closer, definitely closer,” she said at one point, ever optimistic about the future of this Irish team as they look to reach a first-ever major tournament.

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