IRELAND ASSISTANT MANAGER Marco Tardelli again allayed fears that Shay Given would not be fit for Croatia, despite the fact the goalkeeper didn’t participate in another training session in Gdynia today.
While the rest of the 22 players were competing in a full-blown 11 on 11, Given was doing some much lighter work at the other end of the Municipal Stadium pitch. Tardelli insisted, however, it was only in order to condition him.
“Today, he rested but I think he is ready to play. Yes, he is 100% fit. Everything is good.”
As reassuring as Tardelli’s words was the fact that John O’Shea took full part in training, playing alongside Sean St Ledger in central defence in a mixed game. At the other end, Richard Dunne partnered Darren O’Dea in what was a lively session.
“You saw during the training that everybody runs, everybody is happy. They feel good.”
Much of that, of course, might have been down to the fact they had yesterday off. When asked whether the players had specifically asked for it, Tardelli said it was irrelevant: the boss ruled.
“We decide sometimes or not if it’s better to train or not. We had the feeling that it was better to rest. All decisions depend on the boss.
“The players need to recover after the very tough seasons.”
It also seems increasingly unlikely that Trapattoni will switch formation on Sunday against Croatia, with the starting formation still likely to be identical to that which began the Hungary game.
John O’Shea took a full part in training earlier. INPHO/Donall Farmer
“Giovanni Trapattoni said it’s his duty to change if the team is not good but the team played well against Hungary, played well against Bosnia, against Tuscan selection.”
“We have 23 players. We can change some things, but in this moment the team that played against Hungary played very well. We need to prepare the match against Croatia in a different way but we play [the same team].”