WHEN you get paid too much and work too little, it is easy to be criticised. So shed no tears for Giovanni Trapattoni.
However, while we can side with Stephen Kelly, Kevin Foley and Andy Reid in their campaign against Italian injustice, it is a hell of a lot harder to make a case for Darron Gibson. Yes, Gibson was rightly aggrieved not to be given a chance in Poland last summer. And, perhaps, he was right to take a break from international football and make his point as forcefully as possible to Trapattoni.
But given how Trap has practically begged Gibson to come back — effectively telling him he will get his game now — the Derry man’s refusal to be entertained just smacks of bad form. Is it the Republic of Ireland or the Republic of Trapattoni he plays for?
You think of Gibson’s stance now and then think of Ronnie Whelan’s. After Italia 90, when Whelan was justifiably annoyed that his midfield place was taken by a centre-half, Paul McGrath, and the less talented Andy Townsend, he kept his counsel. He didn’t disappear and huff. Instead the multiple medal winner — (Gibson, after leaving Manchester United, will do well to ever receive any more silverware) — kept turning up and kept sitting on the bench. He won just 12 caps after 1990 but didn’t retire until 1995, when he was 34. Prolonging his club career was not used as an excuse. He was devoted to the cause and it was not until the release of his autobiography in 2011 that the depth of his anger with Jack Charlton surfaced.
Contrast this with Gibson, a well-paid and talented player but one who is having a prolonged sulk. As a player and a man, he is no Ronnie Whelan.