TRAPATTONI 'AGONY' OVER FOLEY EXCLUSION
Giovanni Trapattoni has revealed his agony over the decision to leave Kevin Foley out of the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 squad.
The 27-year-old Wolves full-back, who has been struggling with a hamstring injury, was told on Tuesday he had not made the final 23 despite being named in the original party as Trapattoni instead chose Paul McShane to provide more cover in central defence.
Trapattoni said: "We thought very hard about what was the best and most appropriate decision.
"We based our decision on the fact the centre-halves - [Richard] Dunne, [John] O'Shea and [Darren] O'Dea - all have problems. We are not sure if they will be 100%.
"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.
"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."
Asked how difficult a decision it had been, Trapattoni added: "Very difficult because we hold him in a high regard.
"But we had this problem until this morning. Richard Dunne has a muscular problem... and normally defenders are subject to bookings.
"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 admitted he had faced similar decisions in the past, and in particular when he decided to leave Roberto Baggio out of his Italy squad for the 2002 World Cup finals.
He said: "Also with Italy, we went to Korea we had this situation. Baggio I considered for three months.
"He was injured three months before and had surgery on his cruciate ligament. He was in Bologna working with the physios and I said to him he needed to play a minimum of one game before the March 31 deadline.
"He played 20 minutes of the last game in the league. I had a heavy heart, but I couldn't put him in the squad."
Trapattoni's comments came after he had watched his side, in which Foley played as a second-half substitute, defeat a Tuscan Select XI 5-0 at the Stadio Melani in Pistoia.
Skipper Robbie Keane struck twice either side of Simon Cox's 29th-minute goal, and substitutes Shane Long and Jon Walters also registered after the break, the latter after Foley's free-kick had been parried.
Perhaps more importantly, Trapattoni's players emerged unscathed on a night when Shay Given, O'Shea and Darren O'Dea were absent, along with the rested Damien Duff and Glenn Whelan.
The win came on a day which had started in tragic fashion for Italy when a second earthquake in 10 days struck some 210km to the north of the Republic's base in Montecatini, killing at least 16.
Tremors were felt in the spa town, although not by Trapattoni or Tardelli at the team hotel.
Football Association of Ireland officials wore black armbands during the game as a mark of respect, and Trapattoni thanked them for the gesture.
He said: "We have great respect for the people who died. I said thanks to [FAI chief executive] John Delaney because they put on the black armbands. That was very important for myself and Marco.
"Italy couldn't play their game, but we didn't think about not playing. We have respect for the situation, but we needed this friendly. We made the right decision.
"My wife in Milan felt the earthquake. I didn't feel it in our hotel, but some of the players did."
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