IRELAND MIDFIELDER LIAM Lawrence has hit out at the attitude of some British-born players who have half an eye on an Ireland switch.
Jermiane Pennant and Jamie O’Hara have both said recently they wouldn’t mind a call-up to Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad – as the England dream seems to have faded. But Nottinghamshire-born Lawrence says he was always clear about his own intentions, and never ‘juggled’ his options.
“He is a good player,” said Lawrence, when asked about Pennant. ”The only thing I know upsets us is when people are trying to juggle between England and Ireland. That’s the only issue really. And it is not just me saying that.
“It doesn’t look good, does it? You know, for an Irishman to say that. I think Glenn (Whelan) has given him some stick already.”
“We don’t dislike these people. It is just some of the comments they come out with when they’re saying they are juggling between Ireland and England – you just don’t do it, do you?”
Lawrence expects Ireland’s bid for Euro 2012 qualification to go all the way to the wire, meanwhile. The Boys in Green host Macedonia at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night. We’ll run a live minute-by-minute from Lansdowne Road from tea-time. Ireland visit Macedonia in June and Lawrence says the two ties will have a major effect on Ireland’s options.
“I think it’s close and it’s going to be close throughout. There are still going to be one or two upsets yet because some of the smaller teams in our group are decent.
“There’s still a long way to go yet and we have just got to get this Saturday out of the way and hopefully win the game. These are the games that we need to win – and that’s no disrespect to Macedonia. These are the games we have got to look at.”
Richard Dunne joined his team-mates yesterday evening, having stayed in Birmingham for treatment on his injured shoulder, but he is likely to start along with skipper Robbie Keane.
Lawrence said: ‘They are massive, massive players for us, and even at their clubs, they are huge players still, and it’s just a shame that they are injured.
“Hopefully Robbie will be okay, touch wood, and we will maybe get Richard back.
“But if not, it’s a chance for the young lads and people who have not played as much to really stamp their authority on it,” he added.