Stephen Ireland has said he wants to play for the Republic of Ireland again almost five years on from the infamous ‘Grannygate’ fiasco back in 2007.
The native of Cobh in Co. Cork (and the scorer of the first ever goal in a soccer international at Croke Park – that in a 1-0 win over Wales) ‘invented’ not one but two ‘dead’ grannies back in 2007 so as to get out of international duty. It was later revealed that Ireland’s girlfriend had allegedly suffered a miscarriage.
Steve Staunton, the Republic’s manager at the time was reported as being livid at Ireland’s antics. Though the then 21 year-old apologised at the time, he has not been selected to play for his country since and has on a number of occasions stated that he had no interested in playing international football again.
Having failed to qualify for Euro 2008; Steve Staunton was replaced as Ireland manager four months later by Giovanni Trapattoni who has stated that he would welcome the six times capped Cork man back to the international fold. It appears as if the Aston Villa midfielder is finally ready to return himself, though he has stated that the decision is out of his hands: “Until the question comes from the FAI, or some kind of contact comes from them, I can’t really think about it,” Ireland has been quoted as stating this week.
One imagines that the FAI and Irish management will require the 25 year-old to make some effort himself however and to make a meaningful statement of intent that he is genuinely interested in returning however.