An unprecedented exchange of insults between Maccabi Haifa striker Eliran Atar and Israel national team coach Eli Gutman on Monday has overshadowed the start of the blue-and-white’s preparations for the crucial Euro 2016 qualifiers against Wales on Saturday and Belgium three days later.
The national team’s 25-man squad will hold its first full training session ahead of the qualifiers at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa on Tuesday, with Israel currently top of Group B with three wins from three matches.
Atar, who has scored five goals for Haifa since joining the club in January, was the most notable absentee from the squad, even though he has only made three total appearances for the national team, the last of which more than two years ago.
Following Atar’s omission, reports surfaced of a conversation between the striker and Gutman held in last week’s preliminary training session in which he demanded to receive clarifications regarding his role with the team. According to the reports, Gutman was generally unhappy with Atar’s attitude last week and as a result he chose not to call him up.