Trapattoni stands firm over decision to shun Newcastle's Best from Ireland squad

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has defended his decision to ignore Newcastle’s in-form striker Leon Best for this critical week in the European Championship qualifying campaign.

The Italian stopped short of calling Nottingham-born Best lazy, but said he will only pick players who are prepared to work for the team.

Best has six Ireland caps, all earned under Trapattoni, but he has not been selected since he was forced to pull out of the squad in May with an ankle injury which required surgery.

He has three Premier League goals to his name this season, to help maintain his excellent strike-rate at the top flight, in a Newcastle side which has surpassed expectations and is currently sitting fourth in the league table.

In form: But Leon Best (right) has been ignored by Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni

In form: But Leon Best (right) has been ignored by Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni

Trapattoni was at Molineux on Saturday to watch Best and Ireland team-mate Kevin Doyle. The Ireland manager was not persuaded to tinker with his squad to face Andorra and Armenia this week, even though Stoke’s Jon Walters needs a scan on an ankle injury.

Trapattoni said: 'Leon is not here because we have other three four strikers with other qualities. Leon knows why. I don’t forget him but he knows why I need other attitudes.

'But on the there is only one ball. And winning football is about 11 players running for 90 minutes, or 94 minutes, with a winning mentality. I cannot have players who just wait for the ball.

'We need a team, we need work and commitment. That is football. We need this mentality because with our mentality anything is possible. We cannot afford to have players standing there waiting for the ball.

'Leon knows why he is not here. We are also missing Keith Treacy and he knows. The players understand why. I tell them to their face, not through the newspapers.’

After the withdrawals of Kevin Kilbane and Kevin Foley, Trapattoni reported that Stoke’s Jon Walters, who can also play upfront, has an ankle injury that will be scanned before the squad leaves for Andorra tomorrow. Paul McShane, who will play his first game of the season for Hull reserves, has been called up as cover.

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now