Trapattoni knows best

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Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has told Newcastle striker Leon Best he needs to work harder on the pitch if he is to win a return to the international stage.

The 25-year-old frontman has been in fine form for the Magpies this season, scoring three times and forming a new partnership with Demba Ba which has helped the club to a nine-game unbeaten start to the campaign and taken them to fourth place in the Barclays Premier League table.

But he was not named in the squad for the concluding Euro 2012 qualifiers against Andorra and Armenia, and when asked to explain that decision Trapattoni said: "Because we have three or four other strikers with other qualities. Leon knows why. I don't forget him, but he knows why. I need another attitude. The whole team must work, the whole team must work. That is important."

He added: "Many players here understood that. On the pitch, there is only one ball.

"To win in football, you need 11 players running for 90 or 94 minutes with that winning mentality, not waiting for the ball.

"We need this mentality. With our mentality, all is possible. We can't afford to have players staying there waiting for the ball."

Trapattoni's comments may surprise Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, who has been delighted with Best's contribution to date this season.

However, the 72-year-old has made a point of discarding players who do not subscribe to his footballing theories, and it appears that the striker has some work to do to persuade him that he is worthy of a return to the international fold.

In the meantime, the Republic will head for the tiny Pyrenean principality to face minnows Andorra on Friday knowing there is no room for slip-ups at the 1,800-capacity Estadi Comunal.

Midfielder Stephen Hunt said: "You are going to get all the cliches over the next three or four days, but the most important thing is we stay focused and win the game. We might have to be patient - it might be the 65th, 70th minute when we score a second goal to kill the game off or whatever. But as long as we win the game, that's the most important thing."

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Leon Best
Stephen Hunt
Premier League
Newcastle United
Demba Ba

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