REPUBLIC of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has warned James McClean that he is lucky to still have an international career following his foul-mouthed Twitter rant.
Sunderland star McClean vented his fury on the social media site at not coming off the bench during the Republic’s narrow and undeserved 2-1 win over Kazakhstan on Friday night.
The 23-year-old described his personal experience in Astana as a “f****n* joke” – a move that clearly did not go down with the Italian, who hauled the player in front of the squad for a public dressing down in London yesterday.
Trapattoni (pictured) only decided to retain the player for tomorrow’s friendly against Oman after he made a grovelling apology, and the Italian admits had McClean been playing for a bigger country, he would have been axed.
“Another manager, English or German, would have said take your bag and go home, but I might need him in the game to score a goal,” Trapattoni told a press conference.
“He was mortified (when he was pulled up in front of the squad). If he could have, he would have eaten his words. He was very apologetic.
“I said to everyone this is not about respect for the manager, this is about respect for everyone. I said the players are your colleagues.
“If I don’t play him, I can play others. There was Stephen Kelly and Kevin Doyle on the bench. They have many caps.
“The matter is closed now. With the young we need to have patience. Sometimes they say things they regret.”
Republic left-back Stephen Ward insists the squad have no problem with McClean, despite his outburst.
He said: “Of course (everyone accepted his apology). We don’t tend to dwell on these things.
“He was frustrated not to play and 20 minutes after the game he calmed down and was just happy we got the result. On the plane home, he sort of regretted it. He apologised to the lads and we have moved on from it.”
McClean’s apology has not been enough to earn him a starting place in the Republic’s game against Oman tomorrow after Trapattoni confirmed the winger would once again start on the bench.
The Italian plans instead to give 20-year-old winger Robbie Brady a chance to impress at Craven Cottage.
“He’s a (type of) player we are missing,” Trapattoni said. “(He has) vision – he sees the pass immediately – he can shoot and works hard and he is also intelligent.”
Sean St Ledger is doubtful after hobbling off with a knee problem following a training session at AFC Wimbledon yesterday morning.
Should the Leicester defender be ruled out, Wigan’s James McCarthy will be the only survivor from the team that stuttered to victory on Friday.
David Forde will start in goal behind a back four of Seamus Coleman, Stephen Kelly, Marc Wilson and St Ledger, providing he is fit. Should he be ruled out, he will be replaced by Paul McShane.
Brady, McCarthy, Andy Keogh and debutant David Meyler will play in midfield while skipper Kevin Doyle will be up front with Shane Long.