Trapattoni says he will stand by his heroes

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni was in Dublin on Friday night for the Soccer Writers’ awards dinner and on Saturday he headed to London for Chelsea’s game against Sunderland. The Italian has been getting good reports on the Sunderland’s Derry-born striker James McClean, who has made the breakthrough into Sunderland’s first team since Martin O’Neill took over as manager, but on Saturday McClean was on the losing side as Chelsea won 1-0. McClean may get a chance to impress in the friendly against the Czech Republic next month, but Trapp says that only injuries will prevent him from standing by the players who helped the Republic qualify for next summer’s European Championships.

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The only player he has definitely ruled out is Stoke’s Marc Wilson. Trapp said that Wilson, who has only one cap, needs to apologize to management for a breach of discipline, but wouldn’t specify exactly what happened. Wilson was named in the Irish squad for the end of season Carling Nations Cup tournament, but failed to show up at the team hotel. Trapattoni said another player was also involved in a breach of discipline but refused to name the player.

Meanwhile Manchester United beat Bolton 3-0 on Saturday to go level on 48 points with Manchester City at the top of the EPL table. City, though were still table toppers with + 8 goal difference going into Monday’s game at Wigan and they were on 51 points after scraping a 1-0 win.

Shay Given was back after injury for Aston Villa for whom Robbie Keane came on as a late sub in their 1-1 draw with Everton. Damien Duff was on target for Fulham for the second week in a row in their 3-1 defeat away to Blackburn. Shane Long converted a penalty for West Brom, who lost 2-1 at home to Norwich, but another Irish star, Leon Best, secured full points for Newcastle United with the only goal of the game against Queens Park Rangers on Sunday.