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Trapattoni and McCarthy in quotes

28 January 2011 12,306 views No Comment Written by Ronan

Visiting some of the Irish football forums and reading opinions on facebook, you could easily get the idea that Giovanni Trapattoni “has it in” for Wigan midfielder after his omission from this week’s senior Republic of Ireland squad, or that the 20 year old could well switch back to Scotland. Neither of these opinions are true, and based on direct quotes from both men, you can see why. We’ll see McCarthy in senior competitive action soon, rather than later.


His long-time ambition of playing for Ireland, 2007:
“I have always wanted to play for Ireland and when the manager Sean McCaffrey picked me for these fixtures against Italy, I was delighted. I know that I’ll have to work very hard to get a spot in the team because they are a good side. I was born in Scotland but my mother’s family are from Donegal. My grandfather, Paddy Coyle, was a big influence on me before he died and it was my intention to represent Ireland if I was lucky enough to be selected. I was a Glasgow Celtic supporter as a kid and my grandfather used to tell about the history of Celtic and the Irish International team. I spent some time in Ireland with my relatives when I was younger and my aunts and uncles are coming along to the games during the week. My parents are coming over from Scotland, too. The lads have been very welcoming of me. I just want to come here and do as well as I can. I’m just a normal 16-year old who loves playing football. In my spare time, I like to play snooker and go bowling with my friends.”

His admiration of the other Irish players, 2007:
“Kevin Doyle, Shane Long and Stephen Hunt were nice to me when I was down at Reading and were thrilled to hear I was in the Irish squad. I had a chat with Darren O’Dea and Aiden McGeady at Celtic and the staff at Liverpool were also brilliant to me. Robbie Keane is a player I admire, he’s very exciting to watch and scores plenty of goals for Ireland. I’m a midfielder who likes to get forward and support the strikers, so Roy Keane was the player I took most interest in when he was playing.”

Being overlooked by Scotland as a youth, 2007:
“Scotland didn’t pick me. Scotland never came in for me last season and Ireland did so I went for them. I’m not that bothered. I’m just happy to be playing international football. You’ve got up to under-21s to change your mind but I don’t know what I will do. Nobody from Scotland has been in touch, although I think they have been to watch me. If they want to pick me, they pick me. It’s not up to me, is it?”

Not changing back, 2007:
“It’s always the same when you get an interview here in Scotland. “They’re always asking so ‘what’s happening, are you going to change?’ and it’s at the stage now where I just say ‘we’ll see what happens’ to put them off and get them off my back. I won a Player of the Month Award but spent my entire time talking about that. But I’m happy where I’m at, with Ireland. The fuss can be annoying, but it doesn’t really bother me.”

Being called-up at under-21 level, 2008:
“I’d just like to say a big thanks to all the Ireland fans who have been so supportive of me and the other lads coming through. It’s great to have made the under-21s, I can’t wait to play at that level for Ireland. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made so far for club and country. Hopefully Ireland fans will be seeing a lot more of me soon.”

Sticking with Ireland, 2008:
“I won’t be changing my mind. “I’ve been part of the Republic set up for too long now and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Not having to decide, 2008:
“I know people have been giving me stick and they’ll probably continue to do so but that’s not my problem. The fact is if Scotland had asked me to play first I would have said ‘yes’. They didn’t though, Ireland did and I don’t regret that decision for a minute. Even if Scotland had come in afterwards I would probably have had a major dilemma on my hands but it was never a decision I had to make. Fans can give me stick if they want but you can’t choose to play for a country if the option isn’t there.”

His grandfather’s alleged last wish, 2008:
“I won’t be changing my mind. I’ve been part of the Republic set up for too long now and I’m proud to be part of it. I loved the experience with the Under-21s and it was brilliant to get my first cap. People think I chose to play for the Republic because my granda asked me to. It wasn’t his last wish, like some people think. He always said he would have loved to see me play for Ireland but that’s not the reason I made my decision. The chance came for an international cap and I decided to go for it because Scotland never asked me. There was never any indication they were going to either. I know I’m still young but I wanted international experience and it meant a lot for me to get it with Ireland.”

Being pulled out of the under-21 squad through injury, 2008:
“I was supposed to be away with Ireland for a friendly but the gaffer has pulled me out because of a slight thigh strain. I don’t want to speak about the stories about Scotland because I haven’t spoken to the gaffer about it yet.”

Being embarrassed by changing countries, 2008:
“I’m really flattered that Scotland were interested in me. It’s a huge compliment. The fact is I’d already made my decision. Ireland have been absolutely brilliant to me and my family and I couldn’t turn my back on them. I felt that if I had done that I would have embarrassed myself. All I want to do is play football – I don’t want to embarrass myself by chopping and changing countries.”

Yet more media speculation, 2010:
“I don’t intend to drag this subject out again. There was some speculation about me changing my mind but I really don’t want to get caught up in all this again. Gary Caldwell has had a couple of words in my ear since he joined us from Celtic but I’ve made my choice to play for Ireland and I’ll be sticking with it.”

Making the senior squad for the Brazil friendly, 2010:
“It’s absolutely unbelievable to meet all the players; all of them have been great as well. I’m absolutely delighted to be in – to get a call-up is an unbelievable achievement for my family and myself.”

Winning his first cap, 2010:
“I was delighted just to get on the park and make my debut. That’s it put to bed now [the Scotland speculation] and from day one I wasn’t going to change anyway. I just need to keep working hard with my club and hopefully get more international recognition. I was a bit nervous about being the new boy in the squad but everyone made me welcome. They are a good bunch of lads and I am delighted to make my debut. It is brilliant to be honest to make your debut against top opposition like Brazil and the only disappointment was the result.”

Pulling out due to injury, 2010:
“It would have been great to add to my senior caps but I was nursing a niggling back injury. It was going into a spasm and affecting my hamstrings. I spoke to my manager Roberto Martinez about it and he advised me to pull out of the Ireland matches in case I sustained any more damage.”


“Hamilton Academicals midfielder James McCarthy, 17, has decided to reaffirm his commitment to the Republic of Ireland national teams following significant media speculation recently.
James is flattered by the genuine interest shown in him by Billy Stark and George Burley in recent weeks with a view to him being selected by Scotland.
However, he is now in his third season with the Irish set up, having already represented them at Under-17, Under-18, Under-19 and Under-21 levels, despite still being a month short of his 18th birthday.
James feels he would be letting too many people down by switching from the Irish at this stage. He is content to end the speculation and now just wishes to concentrate on his club commitments with Accies in the SPL where he is thoroughly enjoying the involvement and demands upon him there.
Hamilton Academicals are delighted to see our young players gain international recognition with Scotland, having had three players capped at various levels already this season, but would also firmly and fully back young James on this particular occasion.
The club are quite happy to support what has been James decision. Hamilton manager Billy Reid is delighted with the player’s progress at the club, which has been tremendous considering his young age and feels that the player is fully deserving of the various club and international interest in him.”


Calling up McCarthy, 2008:
“I think he will play for Ireland, and we will look in future to choose him. I know that he thinks about it, and that he has two possibilities – Scotland and Ireland – but I think he will choose Ireland. I think we will have a possibility to look at him. I think we will choose him, and I am always positive.”

McCarthy’s versatility, 2010:
“McCarthy can play right, left. I saw him two or three times. I’d like to ask him which position he likes. He can play behind the striker, sometimes left, sometimes right — we need to look at his quality and personality. Sure he has talent — like Rivera, Mazzola, they became very great with experience. They had good quality. It’s important when this personality develops. He’s fast and confident on the ball. He could be important for us.”

Selecting him against Norway, 2010:
“We looked at McCarthy against Brazil and continue to keep an eye on him. We called him into the squad for the games against Paraguay and Algeria but he phoned and said he was tired and wanted a rest. Another opportunity will come for him, possibly against Norway in November. I want to see him in a friendly. Norway are a strong team and a game like that will build his mentality. So we will try things against Norway and maybe try McCarthy.”

Trying out McCarthy, 2010:
“Obviously, we look for other players. McCarthy, we look at him and not only him. Maybe one or two others. McCarthy plays for his club. On the bench we have players who are not playing for their clubs. It is also another chance for (Keith) Fahey.”

Changing the system to suit McCarthy, 2010:
“I’m not afraid to change the system. It depends on the players with you. Now, we have McCarthy, and I think he could play behind the striker, like Stephen Ireland could. When I managed Inter Milan, we played this formation. You need time and you need players for this system.”

Not calling McCarthy up for the Wales match, 2011:
“It’s too tight. He only just returned from injury the other day. McCarthy is important. We need players in this position, who can play the No 10 or maybe behind. He was only on the bench on Saturday. Maybe he play reserve games. We also have other solutions, like Fahey, but we will continue to follow him.”


New Irish players, 2010:
“We have many new names, Cunningham, Coleman and McCarthy. We need those players to go forward. I think we needed to find the new Irish players, maybe McCarthy, maybe Cunningham, Treacy is a very good player. I don’t think [he’ll change back to Scotland], he plays with the U-21s, I don’t know why some papers say this.”


Watching McCarthy at Wigan, 2009:
“We’ll have to watch and see how young McCarthy gets on at Wigan; see can he handle the Premiership. He’s a very good young player. I think Giovanni has shown that if someone demonstrates that they can do it, he’s not afraid of putting them in.”


Calling McCarthy up to the Under-21 squad, 2011:
“I spoke to James and he is very happy to come to Cyprus and play for us if he’s fit and able. Him not being in the senior squad wasn’t even mentioned, he is keen to play for Ireland and that’s not in doubt.”


Media speculation, 2010:
“He is an Ireland player and that’s who he wants to play for. It’s all rubbish. He wants to play in the first-team for Ireland and so do all his family.”


Fear of international burn-out, 2008:
“He has had to cope with the demands of playing three times a week in the SPL and that’s a big enough ask without throwing full international football into the reckoning. I’ve been lucky with the Irish FA because every time I’ve felt James needed a break they’ve been accommodating with the Under 19 and Under 21 squads. But to go and ask them to go easy on him in full internationals is a different story. They wouldn’t allow it and neither would James want it. It’s very hard to preserve his talents. He was shattered after back-to-back games against Rangers so I put him on the bench for the Motherwell game. He came on and was the best player on the park. He’s too good to leave out so I’m pleased he doesn’t have added pressure of playing for Ireland.”


Trying to change McCarthy’s mind, 2010:
“I had a brief chat with James but I didn’t get any encouragement there at all. As far as I am concerned, the door is closed on that one.”

Re-opening that door, 2010:
“You have to remember that our job is to select the best players available,” he said. “It’s not to decide who is available. Every player who is eligible to play for Scotland is on the radar. I had a conversation with James going back to when I got the job and he indicated he wanted to play for Ireland. I don’t close the door on anything. We’re not in a position where we have enough quality players to say, ‘sorry, we don’t want anyone’. Again, when it comes around to it, the situation is as Nigel alluded to and Giovanni said: players will play for who they want to play for. Once they get over 21 years of age or are capped in a competitive match, that’s them aligned to that country. But up until that point, the opportunity is there to change from one to another. We’re not closing any doors to anybody so we’ll wait and see.”


McCarthy choosing to play for Ireland, 2007:
“We have watched the player on numerous occasions by Archie Knox , members of the Youth International Youth Teams backroom staff and myself. He recently was involved in an Under 18 tournament with the Republic as well as being a member of their Under 17 Squad last season. It was indicated very early on that he wanted to play for the Republic because of his Grandfathers dying wish.That is something that we have to respect.”


Poaching McCarthy, 2008:
“Scotland are interested in taking on board any quality player and he certainly is a quality player. He’s had a great season so far and a great career so far, albeit a short one. We are looking at players who are probably more of a senior level, players like Kris Commons and James Morrison, who are established. But, if you can get ahead of the game and get players on board at an early stage, I’m all for that. Aiden McGeady was one that was missed before but hopefully McCarthy won’t be. It’s down to the player at the end of the day, he has the ultimate choice. It’s nice when you have a lot of countries chasing you but hopefully he will turn out for Scotland and hopefully that will mean being part of a squad who is playing well, winning matches, and qualifying for tournaments.”


Watching McCarthy as a teenager, 2008:
“To suggest I was asked to watch McCarthy and deemed him not good enough is nonsense. The laddie and Billy Reid did articles in the paper saying Scotland hadn’t shown interest in him and he was going to Ireland. That’s his right. Ross Mathie, who was in charge of the Scotland Under-16s and 17s at the time, decided the boys in his team were as good as McCarthy. That’s fair enough. But after they did the articles I went to see Billy and told him it was wrong to say we hadn’t shown an interest. I urged Billy to tell the boy not to put all his eggs in one basket. We were happy for him to go and look at the Republic’s set-up but we never closed the door for him or felt he wasn’t good enough. He burst on to the scene for Hamilton but Ross decided to stick with the squad he had. No one at the SFA closed the door and maybe if James had been more patient he’d have got his chance with Scotland.”


The FAI’s knowledge of Irish Scots, 2009:
“Anybody who can go to McCarthy and say we don’t want you – and that’s what happened – really can’t complain when he chooses to play for the Republic of Ireland. I think James will end up in the Premiership. I don’t think he’ll stay in Scotland. The way he handles the stick he gets is unbelievable but the boy would have played for Scotland if he’d been asked early enough. The Irish really know how to get these kids – and we have another two at Under-15 level who have been taken into the Irish set-up even though they were born in Scotland. I bet you the Irish FA know the grandparentage of every kid playing with every team in Scotland. They do their homework. Why wasn’t anyone from Scotland speaking to James and his parents when he was 15? It was obvious he had talent. The Irish? They capped him at Under-16 level and they gave 48 members of his family tickets for his first game. They showed him they cared about him. Scotland didn’t so the boy went there. But it isn’t the same as with Aiden McGeady or Ray Houghton who wanted to play for Ireland from an early age because of family ties. James would have played for Scotland, believe me. But by the time Scotland decided they wanted him, James had decided to stay with the people who had made him feel welcome from an early age.”


Advising McCarthy to ignore the media, 2010:
“I spoke to James and told him he should not listen to anybody. You need to listen to your feeling about where you want to be playing. I know that in Scotland they made a huge meal out of it and they let him know how they felt and probably that could make a bearing on his decision. It is important for any player as representing your country is probably where you are going to be achieving your biggest memories of your career going into World Cups or European Championships. But I have said to James he needs to make his own decision. The moment you allow people to influence your decision, you are going to make a wrong decision. He is playing for the Under-21s for Republic of Ireland and he has a clear idea of that at the moment. He has played in Scotland for many years, so he understands the football feeling around that country, so I am sure James will come up with the right decision. I think he should not listen to anyone; maybe his mum and maybe his environment. But I know that in Scotland they made a huge meal out of it and they let him know how they felt when he chose Republic of Ireland and probably that could make a bearing on his decision. But James is a very mature boy. He is an impressive character and, if he listens to his feeling, he will make the right decision.”


McCarthy and McGeady, 2008:
“His only advice came from fellow turncoat Aiden McGeady, who, through no desire to have the heat taken off him, I’m sure – encouraged the move. Hell mend them both, because the fact is playing careers are very short. Once that is over, and assuming he doesn’t go to live in Ireland (these football converts never do) he will be a stranger in his own land. His world has just shrunk. And not just in terms of the millions of Scotland fans who will no longer smile in his direction. Commercially he’s a bad lot”.

Click on thumbnails for full Scottish Sun articles from 2008:

An article from the Tribune where Donegal TD Joe McHugh calls for a response from the Scottish First Minister after racist abuse towards McCarthy:

Related posts:

  1. Trapattoni names Ireland squad for Wales game
  2. James McCarthy and Conor Doyle named in U21 squad
  3. Trapattoni names Ireland squad for Norway friendly
  4. Carling Nations Cup details announced
  5. Wigan wait for McCarthy injury results

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