Belfast Telegraph

Euro 2012: Trapattoni reveals tough decision in leaving Foley out of Republic squad

By Damian Spellman

Giovanni Trapattoni has revealed Paul McShane was handed Kevin Foley's ticket to Euro 2012 amid fears of a crisis in central defence.

Kevin Foley last night said he felt "betrayed" after he was dramatically cut from Ireland's Euro 2012 squad by Trapattoni.



The Ireland manager decided to bring Paul McShane to Poland instead due to his ability to also cover centre-half, as there are slight doubts hanging over Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger and Darren O'Dea.



But that was no consolation for the distraught and usually mild-mannered Foley, who emotionally hit out after asking to play in last night's 5-0 friendly win over a local Tuscany selection so he could prove to the wider world that he has fully recovered from a hamstring problem.



The Wolves man had no idea what was coming when he was called for a meeting with Trapattoni 30 minutes before the deadline for submitting the 23-man squad to UEFA.



"I just feel betrayed, that's all I want to say," said Foley. "I said that to the manager, I obviously wasn't happy.



McShane was only drafted in as the 24th member of the squad last week after being called up from stand-by with Richard Dunne , John O'Shea and Sean St Ledger all struggling with injury.



And although Dunne and St Ledger have since returned to action, Darren O'Dea has joined O'Shea on the sidelines in recent days.



As a result, Trapattoni opted to hand a place to the man who spent the second half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace because he can play at both full-back and in the middle.



The 73-year-old said: "We based our decision on the fact of the centre-halves - Dunne, O'Shea and O'Dea - all have problems. We are not sure if they will be 100pc.



"McShane did a careful medical check and we decided to include him in the 23.



"The reason behind this is we need one more central defender and we know they are more subject to bookings."



Trapattoni, who took a similar decision to leave Roberto Baggio at home for the 2002 World Cup when he was Italy's manager, was clearly emotional as he outlined the reasons for his decision in Pistoia last night.



He said: "I spoke to Kevin this morning and with regret, I communicated my decision to him. Obviously, he was clearly upset. Also me.



"But I have a responsibility to our team and the Irish nation. It's my duty to take this decision disregarding personal feeling.



"For me and for [assistant] Marco [Tardelli], it was very difficult, but we had to decide on one defender more.



"I said to him [Foley], 'We are happy if you decide to stay with us.'



"He said, 'Okay, I will think about it.'



"Obviously he is a little bit sad. That's normal."



Trapattoni's comments came after he had watched his team defeat a Tuscan Select XI 5-0 at the Stadio Melani, the home of Serie D club Pistoiese.



Robbie Keane's first-half double either side of Simon Cox's strike gave Ireland a commanding lead before he, keeper Keiren Westwood, Dunne and James McClean were given a breather.



Substitutes Shane Long and Jon Walters continued the good work after the break, the latter converting from close-range after Foley's free-kick had been parried.



The game came at the end of a day which had seen northern Italy rocked by a second earthquake this month, but although the tremors were felt in Montecatini, Trapattoni was unaware of what had happened until he was told.



He said: "My wife in Milan felt the earthquake. I didn't feel it in our hotel, but some of the players did."

Belfast Telegraph