Stephen Kelly: "To question my commitment was extremely frustrating"

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Stephen Kelly: "To question my commitment was extremely frustrating"


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At 34, Stephen Kelly is coming towards the end of his playing career. 

But the former Ireland international isn't hanging up his boots yet.

However, he can look back at a career that yielded international caps at underage level before 39 appearances for the Ireland senior team between 2006 and 2014.

That included being part of the Euro 2012 squad, although there was a sour note days after a 6-1 defeat in 2012 to Germany in the following World Cup qualifiers when reports emerged of a row with then Ireland assistant manager Marco Tardelli. 

What really happened on that occasion and in and around that period?

Well, the ex-Birmingham City, Fulham and Tottenham full back joined his former team-mate Keith Andrews on our Keith Andrews Show and touched on what occurred and especially his feeling at his commitment being questioned by the management team. That related to Giovanni Trapattoni being quoted as saying in regards to a 2013 friendly against Poland that Kelly did not feature in: "You know what happened with Kelly? I play or I go home.' So go home." In essence, a suggestion that Kelly refused to turn up unless he was guaranteed game time.

At the time, Kelly responded strongly in a statement, saying that he "would not tolerate attempts to defame my loyalty".

Speaking to Keith this week, he said: "I've never, ever thrown my toys out of the pram. I'm not even that argumentative. I'm pretty relaxed, a pretty chilled out person. But I wasn't happy with what was said and I was disappointed and that was it. And by no means was it a bust up on the training ground or an argument. Like everything, it gets blown out of proportion. But it was just a frustrating time and again what was said there and then was frustrating and then I got on with it and I came back into the squad. I came back into it. I was happy, I was fine and just got at it but then it was little things; things were said in the press about it, questioning, and I was like, you know, I had to come out and make a couple of statements and stuff like that was just beyond frustrating because again, to question my commitment to playing for Ireland when it's something that I've always literally adored..." 

Highlighting just how important wearing the green shirt has been to him, he added: "To question my commitment was extremely frustrating".

But he also clarified that there was no row with Tardelli and no issue with Trapattoni: "It wasn't even a row. It's funny, it was totally blown out of proportion what happened but people are like, 'you had a row on the pitch' but it was nothing like that. Absolutely nothing like that and absolutely nothing to do with Giovanni either."


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