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Ireland boss Pauw: 'Tyler needs to call me. Maybe a bit of guts would help her'

Vera Pauw addresses the topic of Tyler Toland’s long-term international absence.

Tyler Toland's long-term absence from the squad was a big topic in yesterday's press conference.
Tyler Toland's long-term absence from the squad was a big topic in yesterday's press conference.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE TYLER TOLAND saga rumbles on, with fuel added to the fire, though the message remains the same: “Tyler needs to call me, and explain how she thinks that she can come back into the squad,” Vera Pauw said yesterday, as her media briefing after the 2023 World Cup qualifying draw turned much more explosive than expected.

“Maybe a bit of guts would help her,” she later added. “I’m not the one breaking her career, I’m here only to save her career.”

The teenage midfielder 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.

Donegal star Toland had excelled — and scored — earlier in the campaign against Montenegro, before Pauw’s arrival, and has been in impressive club form since her loan to Glasgow City from Manchester City earlier this season.

“I said before that Tyler Toland had to call me,” Pauw said yesterday. “That wasn’t for nothing. I have seen the newspaper articles, Twitter and everything.”

Discussing the initial problem, Pauw explained: “Tyler was in the plans to be in the line-up but it appeared that others were better.

“As a 17-year-old, she was on the bench twice. Then she decided that she thought that I did not like her. Together with her father, she decided that she would not play for me.

“I read in the paper that she changed her mind but she needs to call me.

“When the player says she will never, ever play for Ireland any more as long as you are coach but then acts as if… I said, ‘Well, if you change your mind, just call me.’ The reason was because she was not in the line-up. I want to make that clear for once because there is a lot going on.

“I have contact now with her agent to solve it. Because young players may make mistakes but she needs to realise that she has made a mistake — not try to put it on my plate. I could have not done that to protect her but she’s now going to the papers as if I don’t select her.

“She needs to call me if she wants to play for me again, also when she’s on the bench, also when others are better.”

“I’m not going on because I want to save the career of Tyler Toland,” she said at one point, when asked to expand.

“This has done a lot to me,” Pauw continued when asked if she should take the lead in resolving the impasse. “It doesn’t take away my feelings for this squad because this squad is fantastic. The fact that she’s in the papers saying the opposite – as if I don’t select her – makes me say this statement.

“It’s the first time in my life that I do not protect the player but stand up for myself.”

Toland is a player Pauw has discussed plenty in the past — “there is something not going right for Tyler, she is not the player that she normally is,” she said in October 2019 after the win over Ukraine — her first game at the helm, for which she was also an unused sub — before suggesting that a lack of game time was a reason for her absence in February.

In October, the 19-year-old shared her thoughts on her international exile in an interview with The Irish Times. “There’s nothing that makes you more proud than pulling on the green jersey, so hopefully some day soon I’ll pull it back on,” she told Mary Hannigan.

Shortly afterwards, Pauw told a press conference that she was waiting for contact from Toland. “I am waiting for a call from her to tell me that she wants to be selected again,” she said. “I want to leave it at that because I don’t want to create any issues. But it’s not that she is not on the list because of not playing.”

The Dutchwoman noted that Toland had sent her a “standard text message” after she had contact with her agent, but “she needs to call me. That’s the agreement. Three times she said yes to that agreement. She needs to call me.”

Pauw was on the call after an “unfair” fixture-planning wrangle, feeling aggrieved after a meeting in the wake of yesterday’s European qualifying draw for the 2023 World Cup.

She was certainly upbeat about Ireland’s World Cup chances, though, confident they can bounce back from the missed opportunity of the Euro 2022 campaign as they target qualification for a first-ever major tournament once again.

“It still hurts. The staff was as devastated as the players, which was a good thing. You’ve seen against Denmark and against Belgium, that they are moving on. It motivates them probably even more to get better every day.

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“They are so keen to grow, make steps and do more than they did before. The clubs are doing more than they did before, and everybody is doing more than they did before. It’s a vibe in the country that is set by an organisation, the FAI — I know there’s a lot of criticism, but the FAI has done fantastic work in pushing this game to another level.”

vera-pauw Upbeat: Vera Pauw. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Thereafter, she gave examples of recent positive moves in the Women’s National League [WNL] — with all games available to watch live, and for free, on LOI TV — and the Association’s involvement in this weekend’s social media boycott to make a stand against racism and discrimination.

The FAI started their ban late last night, after their coverage of the World Cup draw coverage.

“We, as an Association, start our ban at 12 o’clock tonight because we do not let the group suffer that has already suffered for hundreds of years from less opportunities,” she noted.

“Discrimination needs to get out of our game, always and fully. I want to say this because I know there might be criticism, but it’s from a deep heart, that you need to stand for everybody.”

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Emma Duffy

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