Sunderland boss is unhappy with the Ireland manager's comments about Keiren Westwood needing to leave Sunderland to further his international career
Trapattoni has elevated Millwall's David Forde to Ireland's first choice goalkeeper, citing a lack of game-time as the reason Westwood has been displaced. O'Neill has reacted to Trapattoni's comments, criticising the Italian's approach to out-of-favour players. "An international manager wants every player to be playing in the team but it is the prerogative of the club manager to pick who he wants," O'Neill told the Irish Examiner. "Maybe things were lost in translation and I don’t even say it was Mr Trapattoni who said this, but you can’t tell players they should be leaving clubs just to get international games."
O'Neill is reluctant to allow his deputy goalkeeper out on loan, as the club's third choice is the inexperienced 18-year-old Jordan Pickford. "Certainly his agent was asking about him going out on loan but the teams that wanted him, wanted him not just for the month but for a sizeable time, and we have only one other keeper," O'Neill said.
“In an ideal world, it would be nice to get Keiren out to get some games to get that feeling of competition back in his bones. With an outfield player, you feel – at worst – that you can move people around a little bit. With a goalkeeper, it’s hard to do. At this moment, it’s fine for young Pickford to watch things from the bench for two or three games, knowing your goalkeeper is going to get through the matches. But any more than that and it’s a concern. It’s frustrating for Keiren because he wants to play games in someone’s team. We’ll have a look at it."
Meanwhile, James McClean is a doubt for Sunderland's Premier League tie with Arsenal after picking up a knock in midweek while playing for his country. However, O'Neill does not blame Trapattoni for leaving the winger on the pitch. "I don’t think he complained about the injury so no blame attached," O'Neill said. "He played 80 minutes and only after did the ankle start to really swell."