League of Ireland players have hit back at Giovanni Trapattoni's suggestion that there is "no league" in Ireland.
After announcing his starting XI for the World Cup qualifier against Austria, the Republic of Ireland boss said that the difference between Ireland and nations such as Sweden and Austria was that they had players plying their trade in their respective national leagues, whereas the majority of Irish players played in England.
"In Ireland there is no league," he told reporters in Vienna. "Our players play in England. In Sweden and Austria they have league. This is different."
The statement prompted responses from a number of League of Ireland players, including Limerick defender Stephen Folan, who branded Trapattoni "disrespectful".
"Rather disrespectful that [Trapattoni] hasn't acknowledged the league," Folan wrote on Twitter. "Regardless of the standard, how many [players] from the Ireland team have played in this league?"
St Patrick's Athletic defender Ian Bermingham was critical of the Italian and suggested that there were better players currently playing in Ireland's domestic league than those currently in Trapattoni's squad.
"Never mind better players on the bench, [there are] much better midfielders in our league than Paul Green," he wrote on Twitter.
Bermingham's St Pat's team mate Ger O'Brien said that Trapattoni did not know what domestically-based players offered.
"Nobody associated with our league should be offended by Trap. [He] has no idea what we can offer [and] doesn't realise [a quarter] of his squad played in [the League of Ireland]..."
The reaction echoes the thoughts of Derry City midfielder Patrick McEleney, who recently told Goal that Trapattoni would never look to the League of Ireland and doubted the Italian's desire to promote the league.
"I think Trapattoni will never look towards our league for senior international players," McEleney said. "You would have to be playing across the water [in Britain] for him to acknowledge you. As for promoting, I'm not sure he would do it."