Derby County manager Nigel Clough has expressed his disappointment with Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni for urging Conor Sammon and Jeff Hendrick to push for transfers away from Pride Park this summer.
Clough has requested the Italian to refrain from interfering in club matters following Trapattoni’s recent suggestions that the two players should instruct their agents to line up moves to the Premier League.
The Ireland boss made the controversial comments about the pair during a recent international get-together, but Clough and Derby want the 74-year-old to stop meddling in their affairs.
The Rams boss already has a list of Premier League sides who have expressed an interest in central midfielder Hendrick, a graduate of the club's highly-rated academy, and Trapattoni's intervention has not helped.
“We thought his comments were quite strange and probably misplaced as well. We take it as a backhanded compliment in some ways, that they could play at a higher level,” Clough told the Derby Telegraph.
“But we don’t really think it is his place to be commenting on things like that. Just talking about the form of the players would be enough."
Trapattoni is desperate to make it to the World Cup finals in Brazil next summer and wants all his players operating at the highest level.
Derby provide three of his squad, with Sammon, Hendrick and central defender Richard Keogh all involved in Ireland’s four matches during the close season – against England, Georgia, Faroe Islands and Spain.
Ahead of the La Roja game, Trapattoni said: "Why are Conor Sammon and Jeff Hendrick in the Championship? I don’t want to get into a controversy about managers or agents but it is my opinion that they should be playing in the Premier League.
“If these players have the possibility to play for top clubs, they have to do it. I have asked the players which agents they have, because it is important for them to see if there are possibilities for them to leave.”