Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Show will go on, but Trapattoni has picked team

When Dr Alan Byrne walks into a Republic of Ireland press conference, the natural reaction is to fear the worst.

His unexpected presence is never likely to be accompanied by good news.

Back in May, it was Byrne who detailed Shane Duffy's near-death experience, a revelation that turned a routine gathering into something far more serious.

So when Byrne and Marco Tardelli walked into the new auditorium at the Aviva Stadium yesterday, with Giovanni Trapattoni nowhere to be seen, there was a horrible few seconds of uncertainty before the doctor launched into an explanation for the manager's absence. A severe case of food poisoning, he said.

Considering Byrne had spent the night in the Mater Private, with Trapattoni undergoing a series of tests which included an electrocardiography, it was apparent that nothing was being left to chance. He is a 71-year-old man, after all, despite his zest for life.

All going to plan, Il Capo will be back on the sideline for this evening's joust with Argentina at the renovated Lansdowne Road.

If his health prevents him from doing so, then the show will go on. It always does in football.

Indeed, after Byrne ran through a series of questions on the manager's vomiting and nausea, there was little else for the FAI to do but hand over to Tardelli (pictured), who went ahead and named the starting XI, a selection which Trapattoni had scribbled from his hospital bed that morning.

"I'm not in charge," stressed the assistant.

"I spoke with Giovanni and he gave me the team. He feels well and I think everything is okay.

"I think he'll be at the match. He is very strong."

Trapattoni spent last night in hospital and it is likely to be a late decision as to whether or not he attends tonight’s game.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND TEAM: Given (Man City); McShane (Hull), Dunne (Aston Villa), O'Shea (Manchester United), Kilbane (Hull); Fahey (Birmingham City), Andrews (Blackburn), Green (Derby), Duff (Fulham); Keane (Tottenham), Doyle (Wolves) or Sheridan (Celtic).

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