THE Republic of Ireland touched down in London today amid a fresh storm of controversy thanks to James McClean’s foul-mouthed tweet that could land him in hot water with manager Giovanni Trapattoni.
The Republic put on arguably their worst performance of Trapattoni’s reign last night as they needed two last-gasp goals from Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle to snatch a 2-1 victory from their World Cup qualifier in Kazakhstan.
McClean (right), who has been in outstanding form for Sunderland this term, was furious at not being called off the bench for the clash in Astana, tweeting after the game: “Delighted as a fan we got the the win.. Personal level #fuming #f****njoke #embarrassing.”
McClean tried to cover up his outburst by deleting the tweet within 15 minutes, but Trapattoni is aware of the outburst and must now decide what action, if any, to take against the 23-year-old ahead of Tuesday’s game against Oman at Craven Cottage.
The tweet once again raises questions about Trapattoni’s relationship with some of his players.
Having seen Damien Duff and Shay Given retire from international football this summer, the Italian was then disappointed by the actions of Darron Gibson, who refused a call-up for these two games.
And last month Wolves utility man Kevin Foley turned down the chance to play for his country in their friendly against Serbia and vowed never to play for Trapattoni again because he felt the Italian “betrayed” him by excluding him from his European Championship squad.
Most of the 300 Republic fans who had made the 3,000-mile trip across to Astana looked as if they were set to return home with dreary faces last night after an insipid display from their team.
Kairat Nurdauletov headed Kazakhstan ahead in the first half and, had it not been for two excellent saves from Keiren Westwood, and the woodwork, the former Soviet Republic could have run riot.
“It was a smash-and-grab job,” said Doyle, who smashed home from close range in the 89th minute to seal the win.
“We got out of jail. It’s good to start the campaign with a win but, with minutes to go, it looked like being a disaster.
“I felt sorry for Kazakhstan but there’s plenty of times when it’s been the other way round so I can’t feel too sorry for them.”
Meanwhile, McClean’s Sunderland team-mates John O’Shea and Keiren Westwood both played 90 minutes for Ireland.