Sat disconsolate, arms barely propping himself up on the Stade de France turf, Richard Dunne was joined by the villain of the piece, Thierry Henry. ‘The Cheat of St Denis,’ as dubbed by George Hamilton, offered his hand to the Irish colossus, a recognition of the heartbreak he and his countrymen had visited upon the gallant Irish in Paris in 2009. As fate would have it, are the two to be reunited as team-mates at New York Red Bulls?
However, Harry Redknapp’s QPR are also said to be keen on landing the Tallghtman’s signature.
Dunne’s club and international team-mate Ciaran Clark has assumed the captain’s armband at Villa during what has been a torrid period for Paul Lambert’s men. They’ve conceded 15 goals over the Christmas period and, with the lack of experience available, the manager may be reluctant to sell the 76-time capped Dunne.
Dunne has not played for Ireland since the Euro clash with Italy in Poznan and he was in the States last week to undergo a third groin operation in Philadelphia.
It is rumoured he will be offered a salary of £50,000 a week in New York and could be available on a free-transfer.
“I certainly won’t be going out of my way to get revenge. I don’t owe him one.”
The 33-year-old is expected to return to fitness ahead of Ireland’s crucial qualifiers against Sweden and Austria. He’ll need little reminding that our last World Cup adventure was foiled by the hands of his potential new team-mate.
The image of both players pictured together in the aftermath of the Paris play-off prompted French legend Eric Cantona to express his disbelief that Dunne hadn’t punched Henry.
“What shocked me most was that at the end of the match, in front of the television cameras, this player went and sat down next to an Irish player to console him, even though he’d screwed them three minutes earlier.”
“If I’d been Irish, he wouldn’t have lasted three seconds.”
The two players have met since of course. Henry’s loan spell back at Arsenal saw the two clash at the Emirates early last year but playing together won’t cause Dunne any problems.
“It’s something that has happened. People will talk about it forever. It’s hard to put into words. But it doesn’t really matter any more. I certainly won’t be going out of my way to get revenge. I don’t owe him one.”