Don't really think it's fair to blame him really, his girlfriend was the one who came up with the excuse (presumably not wanting the reality of the situation reported all over the place, which has unfortunately happened anyway), and I don't think most of us would be thinking that clearly in that situation. I guess "my granny died" doesn't really work as a sick excuse when your sick day is accompanied by a national press release..
FIVER LETTERS "Re. Stephen Ireland. In the heady days of Irish football under Big Jack, players were mercilessly exploiting their dear old grannies in order to play for Ireland. It shows how far we've fallen when we now have players mercilessly exploiting their grannies to get out of playing for Ireland" - Seamus Scanlon.
Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland has withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland’s squad for their upcoming Euro 2008 qualifiers because he “would not do his country or himself justice”.
but he can do man city justice.....
He told www.mcfc.co.uk: 'I have thought long and hard about whether I would do my country and myself justice if I joined up with the squad. Unfortunately, I don't believe I would on this occasion.
'The support I have received from Mr Staunton and the FAI has been excellent and everybody at Manchester City has also been superb. However, I do not believe I can make a positive contribution to our efforts to qualify.'
Manchester City boss Sven-Goran Eriksson added: 'This is disappointing for everybody. Steve Staunton and I have been working together to help Stephen through a period which he is clearly finding very difficult.
'We together have left no stone unturned in our efforts to convince him he has so much to offer his country and that international football will greatly benefit his long-term career.
'I hope that Stephen will soon feel stable enough to resume his international career.'