The Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has criticised the claims made by the striker Shane Long that his fitness is not up to the mark. Republic of Ireland were set to face Serbia in a friendly match on Wednesday. Shane Long was in the squad as one of the recognised members of the first team. However, he pulled out of training in the final few moments claiming that his calf has been giving a lot of problems in recent times. As a result, Giovanni Trapattoni had no other alternative but to include Simon Cox as his replacement prior to the match.

After the match, the Republic of Ireland manager criticised the claims made by the striker saying that he was not fit ahead of this match. Republic of Ireland could only manage a 1-1 draw and the manager was visibly frustrated that he was not able to use his first-team player in the match. Giovanni Trapattoni also confirmed that Shane Long would have started the match had not been for the fitness fiasco in the final few moments leading up to the preparation. As a result of not feeling his preferred starting line-up, Trapattoni was unable to get the desired result in this friendly match.

“He said ‘I have pain’ and now he says he is fit – that is idiotic. He is no baby. The doctor was worried, and they did a scan in hospital. For me, it is impossible to understand this. He could say, ‘I am ready’, before the game,” said Giovanni Trapattoni after the match. It is thought that the striker made this decision not to be part of the friendly match in order to be fit in time for the opening match of the Premier league season. The West Brom striker will be facing Liverpool on the opening day.