Reading defender Stephen Kelly has lashed out at Ireland manger Giovanni Trapattoni over comments that suggested Kelly was not willing to play for his country.
Trapattoni told reporters after Ireland victory over Poland that Kelly had issued him with the ultimatum of ‘I play or I go home’. This statement suggested that the player did not display the requisite desire to play for the Boys in Green.
Trapattoni said: “You know what happened in the situation with Kelly? ‘I play or I go home’.”
Kelly who has been capped 32 times for Ireland, later lashed out at Trapattoni, issuing a strongly worded statement confirming his total commitment to the national team.
Kelly’s statement reads: “It is extremely disappointing for me to have to make this statement. I am simply shocked and disgusted with the untrue and unwarranted comments made by Giovanni Trapattoni.
“These hurtful and untrue comments have caused distress and upset to myself and my family who have supported me throughout my career and know the level of commitment and passion I have always shown in representing my country.
“I have proudly represented Ireland from the age of sixteen, and I have never shown anything other than 100 per cent commitment to my country and my team. I cannot and will not tolerate attempts to defame my commitment and loyalty to Ireland.
“Representing Ireland at senior international level has given me some of my proudest moments in my professional career, and for me captaining my country will always be my greatest achievement.
“It saddens me greatly that I should have to defend my good character and reputation in a profession I love, however, I refuse to allow anyone to question my passion for representing Ireland.
“I will continue as always to proudly be available for my country.”