A POKER-FACED GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI insisted that he is not interested in playing brinkmanship with the FAI as talks over a contract extension continue.
The Republic of Ireland boss raised a few eyebrows in Abbotstown yesterday as he named a risky squad ahead of next month’s Euro 2012 playoffs against Estonia, opting for the injured Robbie Keane and Shane Long at the expense of the in-form Leon Best.
But once the issues surrounding squad fitness and Ireland’s opponents had been discussed, it didn’t take long for the talk to turn to the Italian’s contract once again.
Trapattoni’s current deal as Ireland manager is set to expire next April and while qualification for next summer’s championships in Poland and Ukraine would trigger an automatic extension, he recently hinted that he might walk away after the playoffs even if Ireland were to qualify.
That forced the FAI to downplay the threat of Trapattoni quitting, and the manager contributed to the spirit of détente yesterday by saying that there was no need to force the issue of a new deal.
“You always ask — and the answer is at the moment, it’s not important,” Trapattoni said.
“If we haven’t spoken about the about the contract by the time we have qualified or not qualified, there is a realistic option that we could stay or we could go.
There is no pressure in making a decision but in a realistic setting, one of the options is to stay. And one of the options is to go, but I’m not saying that is what will happen.
Trapattoni has made no secret of the fact that himself and assistant Marco Tardelli would relish the opportunity to stay on with the side until Brazil 2014, but with a costly multi-year extension up for grabs, the FAI want to see results in the form of qualification before committing to their man.
“We don’t want to force the situation, but I think we are doing a good job,” Trapattoni added. ”We changed 90% of the team and I think we did well. I think the Irish people are happy.”
In football, all is possible.