Sunday, October 12, 2014

James McClean delighted with Ireland performance

Ireland midfielder James McClean hailed a professional performance from his Ireland team-mates after contributing 2 goals in their 7- 0 rout of Euro 2016 qualifying opponents Gibraltar in Dublin yesterday.

Robbie Keane scored a hat-trick inside 12 first-half minutes - including the opener after just six minutes - to give the home side a decisive lead in the Aviva Stadium and take his individual tally in international football to 65.
Derry born Wigan winger McClean then got in on the act after the break, scoring either side of goalkeeper Jordan Perez's own goal, and Wes Hoolahan completed the rout with a 56th-minute effort to make it two wins out of two for the Irish in Group D.

McClean told Sky Sports: "We did a professional job, we prepared the right way. It was important to get the early goal and settle everyone down.
"The goals meant everything. Playing for my country is the greatest privilege in football and to score goals, my first home goals as well, it's something that will be with me forever. Hopefully I can push on from that and get a few more.''
Martin O'Neill's men now take their qualifying campaign to Gelsenkirchen and a meeting with world champions Germany on Tuesday night, and McClean knows the importance of having two wins under their belt ahead of that match.
"We've got six points on the board and from the start that was our objective going into Germany," added McClean.
"We're under no illusions that's going to be a really tough ask, but hopefully we can go there and get at least a point.''

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Martin O'Neill names 27 man squad to face Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier

David Forde Millwall 
Shay Given Aston Villa 
Keiren Westwood Sheffield Wednesday 
Rob Elliot Newcastle United 

Richard Keogh Derby County  
Marc Wilson Stoke City 
Seamus Coleman Everton 
John O’Shea Sunderland 
Alex Pearce Reading 
Ciaran Clark Aston Villa  
Stephen Ward Burnley  

Jeff Hendrick Derby County 
Glenn Whelan Stoke City 
Darron Gibson Everton  
Aiden McGeady Everton 
Jon Walters Stoke City 
Anthony Pilkington Cardiff City 
James McClean Wigan 
Robbie Brady Hull City 
Stephen Quinn Hull City 
David Meyler Hull City 
Wes Hoolahan Norwich City 

Robbie Keane LA Galaxy 
Shane Long Southampton 
Daryl Murphy Ipswich Town 
Kevin Doyle Crystal Palace 
Anthony Stokes Celtic 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First training session for new Ireland management team

The Ireland squad has held its first training session under the new management team of Martin O'Neill and Roy Keane, with a large media contingent in attendance.

County Derry born O'Neill was confirmed as successor to Giovanni Trapattoni last week. His assistant organised much of today's session ahead of Friday night's friendly against Latvia at the Aviva Stadium.

Keane wasted little time in making his presence felt this morning, with the 42-year-old arriving at Ireland's training base in Malahide a full 90 minutes before manager Martin O'Neill and his players were due to begin work.

Keane went straight on to the training pitch to ensure everything was in place for the start of the morning session and then inspected the nearby gym facilities.

O'Neill arrived on the team coach and he and Keane looked on as the players warmed up, with keepers David Forde, Keiren Westwood and Rob Elliot working apart with new goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh.

The real work began once the cameras had been switched off and journalists asked to leave after their allotted time, with a new era in Irish football well and truly under way.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Speculation mounts on Martin O'Neill Ireland appointment

Speculation is mounting that Martin O'Neill could soon be unveiled as the new Ireland manager.

A number of bookmakers have suspended betting on the next Irish boss after a flurry of bets saw O’Neill backed off the market.

There are also reports this evening that Roy Keane is  prepared to come on board as assistant to O'Neill.

It's reported that the FAI recruitment team of Ray Houghton and Ruud Dokter will present their report to the Football Association of Ireland early next week.

County Derry born O'Neill has been out of work since departing the Stadium of Light in March and has previously managed Celtic and Aston Villa.

Speculation linking Mick McCarthy with a return to the job he held for six years appears to have cooled.

Ipswich Town confirmed on Thursday that they have received no approach from the FAI for his services.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Darron Gibson "It's great to be back"

Darron Gibson is relishing his return to the Ireland set-up & is ready to prove himself to the fans.

“It’s great to be back and I’m enjoying the week, but it feels like I’m starting all over again and I have to prove myself once more to the fans," explained Gibson to reporters at the Irish training camp in Malahide.

The Derry born player admitted it was tough watching from afar the previous games in this qualifying campaign.

"It was tough to stay away, but it was my decision and I stuck to it.

"I felt I should have got the opportunity to play in the Euros, but I am delighted to be back in. Hopefully I’ll get my chance on Friday to show what I can do."

Noel King has stepped into the breach as Ireland manager and Gibson has spoken positively about the Dubliner’s contribution so far.

“Noel knows his stuff. He has worked a lot on tactics and is trying out different formations. The training sessions are brilliant and there is a confident mood in the squad.

"Playing against the Germans is a big test. They will have a lot of the ball and I think we will need to pack the midfield and close the space down. Noel has plans in place."

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Noel King announces final 23 man Ireland squad

Noel King today announced his final 23 man Ireland squad to face Germany and Kazakhstan.

Newcastle’s Rob Elliot receives his first senior call up & Paul Mc Shane, Stephen Quinn and Paul Green are on standby.

David Forde

Millwall FC

Keiren Westwood

Sunderland AFC

Rob Elliot

Newcastle FC

Damien Delaney

Crystal Palace FC

Joey O’Brien

West Ham FC

Sean St Ledger

Leicester City FC

Marc Wilson

Stoke City FC

Seamus Coleman

Everton FC

Stephen Kelly

Reading FC

Ciaran Clark

Aston Villa FC

Darron Gibson

Everton FC

Glenn Whelan

Stoke City FC

James McCarthy

Everton FC

Andy Reid

Nottingham Forest FC

Aiden McGeady

Spartak Moscow FC

Anthony Pilkington

Norwich City FC

James McClean

Wigan Athletic FC

Wes Hoolahan

Norwich City FC

Shane Long

West Bromwich Albion FC

Robbie Keane

LA Galaxy

Jon Walters

Stoke City FC

Kevin Doyle

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC

Anthony Stokes

Celtic FC

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Trapattoni's Ireland reign comes to an end

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni and assistant Marco Tardelli have had their contracts with the Football Association of Ireland ended by mutual consent.

The Italian duo’s departure came after what the FAI described as an “amicable” meeting this morning.

Ireland suffered their second successive defeat in Vienna last night.

“I want to thank everyone in Ireland who has given us their support during our time here which has always meant a lot to us,” Trapattoni said :

"We leave this country with emotion because we understand the Irish supporters who have a well-deserved international reputation and they have our utmost respect."

"I would also thank all FAI staff members, including the backroom team and the players, who have been great to work with during the last three campaigns.

"I wish them well in the future and hope that the job we have done leaves everything in a good place for my successor to take over."

Delaney acknowledged that the current World Cup qualifying campaign had been unsatisfactory, but highlighted the earlier achievements of the veteran Italian manager.

“We thank Giovanni Trapattoni, Marco Tardelli and  Fausto Rossi for the last five and a half years during which we qualified for our first major tournament in ten years and were close to qualification for 2010 World Cup in South Africa after the play-off in France,” the FAI supremo said.

“This particular World Cup campaign has been disappointing, but Giovanni leaves us with a group of good young players which should form the basis of the squad that the new manager will use for the European Championships in France 2016 when 24 teams qualify.”

The FAI acted quickly in the aftermath of the defeat in Vienna, cancelling a scheduled Trapattoni news conference in Dublin this afternoon and the board says it will meet in due course to consider a replacement.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Richard Dunne returns as Trapattoni names Ireland squad

Richard Dunne has been included in the provisional Ireland squad for the crucial World Cup double header with Sweden and Austria next month.

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni watched yesterday as Dunne helped his new club QPR to a 1-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.

Dunne, who enjoyed a solid pre-season, played the full 90 minutes for QPR and showed no sign of the groin problems that caused him to miss all of last season.

Former Bohemians striker Paddy Madden retains his place in the set-up after making his international debut in a friendly with Wales in Cardiff earlier in the month.

Paddy Madden, Robbie Keane, Conor Sammon, Jon Walters, Simon Cox and Shane Long are named in the squad up front.

Looking forward to the games, the Ireland manager said: "We have reached the most important part of our qualifying campaign. The team performed very well against both Sweden and Austria back in March. We will look to emulate both performances, and build towards producing two positive results."

He continued: "Sweden and Austria are two very strong teams, and the qualifying table proves this. However, I believe these players have the mentality, attitude and composure to work together and get the points we need in order to qualify. We will prepare for both games next week and focus on the task facing us."

Ireland World Cup qualifier squad: Forde, Westwood, Randolph, O’Shea, O’Brien, St Ledger, Wilson, Coleman, Kelly, O’Dea, Clark, Dunne, McShane, Whelan, McCarthy,Green, Hendrick, McGeady, Pilkington, McClean,Brady, Meyler, Hoolahan, Long, Keane, Sammon, Walters, Madden, Cox.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trapattoni names starting 11 for Wales clash.

Giovanni Trapattoni has named his starting eleven for tomorrow night's friendly international against Wales in Cardiff.

Instead of the Italian's favoured 4-4-2 formation, Trap has opted for 4-5-1 with Shane Long as the lone frontman and Wes Hoolahan playing in a deeper role behind the target man.

At the back, Keiren Westwood starts in place of the injured David Forde in goal, and he will play behind a back four of Seamus Coleman, Ciaran Clarke, John O'Shea and Marc Wilson.

QPR's Richard Dunne has not been included in the squad as he attempts to regain full fitness.

Trapattoni looks set to continue with playing Jonathan Walters out on the wing, with James McCarthy and Glenn Whelan in the centre, and Robbie Brady getting the nod ahead of James McClean.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

spirited Ireland go down to world champions

Spain defeated Ireland 2-0 in a friendly international at Yankee Stadium New York early this morning.

As expected the reigning World and European champions controlled the majority of possession early in the game but an Ireland team missing six first team regulars, defended well and grew into the game as it progressed.

Pedro went close just before half-time, after showing excellent skill in the box to create space for a shot, but his rasping effort came back off the underside of the bar.

Conor Sammon had Ireland’s best chance in the first half, when after stealing possession from the Spanish defender he shot wide from a tight angle inside the box.

Spain continued to press the Irish defence after the break, but struggled to create many clear-cut goal scoring opportunities, while Ireland’s defence remained solid, determined and focused.

The pressure however eventually told on 69 minutes though when Soldado swivelled and shot into the bottom left hand corner after the ball broke to him in the box.

There was further disappointment for Ireland after 80 minutes when Sean St Ledger had the ball in the Spanish net, only to see it disallowed for offside.James McClean also had a great strike saved by Iker Casillas following a typically strong run.

Spain grabbed a late second on 88 minutes when Juan Mata shot past Ireland sub keeper Darren Randolph.

Overall a gutsy, organised performance from an understrength Ireland against the World Champions, and plenty for Trapattoni to build on for the crucial World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria in September.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Trapattoni names eleven to face Spain

Giovanni Trapattoni has named his starting eleven for tomorrow night's clash with world champions Spain at Yankee Stadium in New York.

Connor Sammon will partner Robbie Keane in attack.
Everton's Seamus Coleman moves into midfield for the New York clash with Paul McShane slotting into the back four alongside Sean St Ledger, Darren O'Dea and Stephen Kelly.

Coleman will start on the right side of midfield with Jeff Hendrick making his first start for Ireland in the centre of the park. James McCarthy returns from suspension to partner Hendrick, while Andy Keogh makes up the midfield four.

The inclusion of Andy Keogh on the left wing looks like another of Trapattoni's bizarre selections, with winger James McClean missing out again to a player not associated with the left wing.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Depleted Ireland fly to New York for Spain clash

Giovanni Trapattoni's depleted Ireland squad travelled to New York yesterday for a friendly clash with Spain, minus a number of senior players who have been excused for various reasons.

Marc Wilson (operation), Jon Walters (knee), Aiden McGeady (wedding), Wes Hoolahan (foot), Keiren Westwood (shoulder), Richard Dunne (speaking to clubs about his future), John O’Shea (bereavement) and Glenn Whelan (rest) will not make the trip to play Spain on Tuesday night.

Captain Robbie Keane, who scored a hat-trick in Ireland's 3-0 win over the Faroe Islands, leads the Ireland squad into the Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

Ireland squad: David Forde, Darren Randolph, Aaron McCarey, Sean St Ledger, Seamus Coleman, Damien Delaney, Darren O’Dea, Paul Mc Shane, Stephen Kelly, Richard Keogh, James Mc Clean, David Meyler, James McCarthy, Andy Keogh, Jeff Hendrick, Stephen Quinn, Simon Cox, Conor

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Keane Hat-Trick secures World Cup qualifying win

Ireland captain Robbie Keane celebrated his record breaking 126th international cap with a hat-trick as Ireland defeated the Faroe Islands 3-0 in a Group C World Cup qualifier in Dublin.

The LA Galaxy striker opened the scoring after five minutes following some excellent build-up play by Wes Hoolahan and Aiden McGeady, before adding his second in the 55th minute, getting on the end of a Seamus Coleman cross.

And the third goal arrived nine minutes from time as Keane rounded off a fine man of the match performance with a neat finish following an exquisite pass from substitute Conor Sammon.

Giovanni Trapattoni labelled Robbie Keane the best Irish player he has seen in 30 years after the striker's hat-trick earned Ireland a World Cup qualifying victory over the Faroe Islands.

He said: "I particularly wish to congratulate our captain because for 30 years, I have known the Irish team and the Irish players and for me, he is the best Irish player I have known in 30 years.

"I wish to congratulate him because he scored. At the moment, he is in good form, but I repeat what I said yesterday, he is also one of the best players in Europe."

Trapattoni and his players head for New York tomorrow for Tuesday's friendly against Spain, although Shane Long and McGeady will not be travelling because both are to be married, while Marc Wilson is due to have surgery to remove a metal plate from his leg.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Keane at the double as Ireland defeat Georgia

Robbie Keane celebrated his record-equalling 125th cap with two goals as Ireland ran out easy 4-0 winners over Georgia.

The game turned in the 20th minute when Georgia had goalkeeper Giorgi Loria sent off for bringing down Shane Long after he was sold short by a backpass, and from there on Ireland had it relatively easy as they prepare for next Friday's World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands.

Keane came on as a substitute at half-time to move level with Shay Given on 125 caps, and he soon added his 55th and 56th international goals, adding to strikes from Richard Keogh - his first for Ireland - and Simon Cox.

"Of course it's always nice to score goals as a striker," Keane told Sky Sports. "It's very important for the confidence.

"I felt a bit sorry for them with the red card, it was a shame and it killed the tempo of the game.
"We wanted a bit of a test before next week's game but it gives us confidence."

Asked about the caps milestone, he added: "If you asked me 10 years ago would I get this many caps, I'd say you were crazy."

"I'm obviously delighted and it’s something I can look back on in years to come but at the moment I just hope to get a few more."

With Keane starting among the substitutes, Shane Long captained the side for the first time as he is suspended for Friday's qualifier.

"It's an unbelievable honour," he said. "At half-time I offered Robbie the band but he said, 'No, it's your night, you keep it'. I'm delighted, it's a big honour and it's nice to get a win.

"It would have been nice to get a goal as well but that's the way it goes."

Long will now leave the Irish camp due to his suspension.

"It's a shame," he added. "I would really like to play alongside Robbie next week but I managed to pick up two yellow cards so I'm going to miss it and instead I'm going to get married in a couple of weeks."

Ireland face the Faroe Islands on Friday night and after an encouraging week of friendlies - a 1-1 draw against England at Wembley followed by today's easy win - Keane is eager to make it count.

"If gives you confidence and it's important to win games," he said. "Next week against the Faroes people expect us to win the game and really we should, but to be honest we can't take it too lightly.

"You have to give the teams a lot of respect and do it in the right way on the pitch. Hopefully we get the three points. It's been a very good week for the players but the main game is next week. These two games mean nothing apart from pride."

Monday, May 27, 2013

Trapattoni prepared for England challenge

Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has challenged his Ireland players to prove they are every bit as good as England's in Wednesday night's friendly international at Wembley.

It will be the first meeting between the two countries since the abandoned game in Dublin in 1995.

Trapattoni said: "The players play in England for Stoke and many teams; the England players play for Manchester United, they play for Arsenal.

"But we can show them we are the same - that's very important. That's a stimulation for me, it's very important that they show they are every bit as good."

Trapattoni and and England manager Roy Hodgson are old foes from their days in club management in Italy and bumped into each other at the Champions League final at Wembley on Saturday evening.

However, the Ireland boss was less than sympathetic over his English counterpart's injury troubles.

He said with a smile: "I met him at Wembley. He told me he has doubts about missing some players, but I don't think so.

"He's missing Gerrard - okay; Carroll is also out, but they have a strong team. They have others -  Defoe,  Rooney, Sturridge, Welbeck - it's okay, he has enough offensive players.

"But I have confidence because our team in the last game gave me much trust."

The game will be one of four Ireland will play over the next two and a half weeks with the World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands in Dublin on 7 June by far the most important.

However, a much-anticipated renewal of acquaintances with England and a glamour friendly against world and European champions Spain in New York have their own attraction.

Trapattoni will use the depth of his squad against England as he uses that fixture and Sunday's friendly against Georgia in Dublin to finalise his plans for the Faroe Islands.

However, he knows a positive result against England would do his players little harm.

He said: "I changed countries four times and every country showed me many different situations.

"People pay their money and they want to see a show, but they also want a result. When you play not so well, but you have achieved a result, the supporters are 50 per cent happy; if you play well and lose the game, 51 per cent are not happy."

Irish captain Robbie Keane is not expected to meet up with the rest of his team-mates until tomorrow after club LA Galaxy's game against Seattle Sounders during the early hours of this morning, with Toronto's Darren O'Dea and Spartak Moscow's Aiden McGeady were also expected to be late arrivals.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Solid display in Stockholm by 'The Boys In Green'

Ireland's World Cup qualification hopes received a great boost after a fighting 0-0 draw against Sweden in Stockholm last night.

Giovanni Trapattoni's 'Boys In Green' had the better of the first-half exchanges with Shane Long wasting their best chance, blasting over when he had time and space inside the box.

But the away point, against their main rivals for a play-off place in Group C, sets Ireland up perfectly for Tuesday's home game against Austria in the Aviva stadium.

Manager Trapattoni brought in James McCarthy, originally dropped in favour of Paul Green, after Glenn Whelan failed to recover from an ankle injury.

Ireland threatened early with James McClean and Robbie Keane beating their markers on the left wing, while Shane Long twisted and turned Andreas Granqvist, but blasted over from 16 yards when the goal opened up.

Sweden won a couple of corners, but were generally off the pace around the pitch. However, David Forde - making his competitive debut - was tested by Tobias Hysen's volley midway through the half, and had to be alert as Kim Kallstrom's free kick made its way across a crowded penalty box untouched.

If Ireland's plan was to keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the periphery, then it was working, with the temperamental PSG striker dropping deep for some action and looking none too pleased with his team-mates when they failed to deliver the ball to his liking.

Still, the ex-Juventus man almost snuck a goal when his shot from an unlikely angle deflected off Seamus Coleman. Forde was stranded but the ball rolled the right side of the post from Ireland's point of view.

Just before the break, Green, honest and hard-working throughout, went in the book for a late challenge on Alexander Kacaniklic, but the Boys in Green were not allowing the hosts to create in the final third and the majority in the 49,436 in attendance at the Friends Arena began to whistle their frustration.

Long and West Brom team-mate Jonas Olsson were enjoying a private battle, clashing on a number of occasions, as Ireland again began the half brightly.

Even when Clark and Green misplaced passes, Erik Hamren's side couldn't take advantage and Coleman made a magnificent tackle as Ibrahimovic threatened on the edge of the box.
Moments later, Larsson fired wide from 18 yards after another poor clearance by Clark, who was preferred to Sean St Ledger in central defence.

Up the other end, Ireland were struggling to create any clear-cut chances. Captain Keane beat the offside trap but over-hit his cross and then Olsson miscued a clearance but the ball evaded Walters.
With legs tiring, Trapattoni introduced Wes Hoolahan for Keane, Andy Keogh for McClean and Conor Sammon for Long.

Sweden almost claimed what would have been three undeserved points deep into injury time.
The ball dropped for Rasmus Elm is the box, but O'Shea, who was given the Irish man-of-the-match award by the home judge, was on hand to soften the strike and Forde guided it over the bar.
The goalkeeper then caught the resulting corner and with that Ireland had their point, and Trapattoni, who came in for a lot of criticism ahead of the game, had made his.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kelly backs David Forde to produce against Sweden

Ireland goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly believes that David Forde's life experience will make him more than capable of coping with the pressure of his competitive debut on Friday night.

The 33-year-old has been promoted ahead of Keiren Westwood due to the latter's lack of first-team action at Sunderland, and Giovanni Trapattoni has decided to stick with the Galwegian instead of recalling Shay Given.

Forde faces a major test in Stockholm, but Kelly feels that the player's strength of character will see him through, referencing the highs and lows that he has tasted before reaching this stage.
"Experience," responded Kelly (right), when asked about Forde's biggest strengths. "I don't just mean on the pitch but in life, getting knock backs, appreciating what you have at the right times. He definitely has that. He's a good communicator and has a great work-ethic.

"It has all come together at the right time and in the right place and he's there on merit now."
Although Forde has always had faith in his own ability, Kelly has noted his current confidence, believing that a good run of form at club level with Millwall and the full support of Trapattoni has put a spring in his step.

"He's kept three clean sheets in his last three games and he's won a spot in the FA Cup semi-final and a Wembley appearance," said Kelly.

"David is an absolute gentleman and one of the hardest working goalkeepers I have worked with, he's always looking to improve.

"He really has come through the ranks in the League of Ireland and then back and forward over the water – he has really served his apprenticeship. I look at him now and I'm seeing him believe now. He is a big lad and his stature has grown in these two weeks. He believes this is his stage and this is his time. To have that mindset and faith in your ability gives you confidence going into the game."

Forde did struggle with his kicking in the early stages of last month's friendly with Poland, but Kelly shrugged off that as a possible concern. "It's something you work on in training," he said. "David would be the first to come over and say, 'I did this and that'. You go over it and put a train of thought in a player's mind so when it comes to the next time they don't have negative thoughts."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Moyes to put his faith in Shane Duffy

Everton boss David Moyes is set to put his faith in Shane Duffy as Everton enter a pivotal spell in the Blues boss’ Goodison reign.

The Derry born Ireland international has been told he is right in the mix to challenge favoured pair Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin for a first-team place as the Toffees chase a top four finish and FA Cup glory.

Duffy had previously been fourth in line to start in central defence and Moyes had considered allowing him to go on loan to gather experience, but has been impressed with his development in recent months.

And with John Heitinga’s poor run of form proving costly in recent weeks, Moyes has informed Duffy he will be going nowhere as the club attempts to compete on two fronts which could yet prove crucial to Moyes’ own Goodison future.

The 21-year-old was selected ahead of Heitinga to come on as a late substitute during Saturday’s fifth round FA Cup draw with Oldham, and will be on the bench again for the visit to face Norwich at Carrow Road in the Premier League on Saturday.

Earlier this month Duffy led the Ireland  U21's to an impressive 3-0 win over the Netherlands in Tallaght Stadium and the young Galliagh defender will be keen to get some club games under his belt and force his way into Trapattoni's senior Ireland squad.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Marc Wilson keen to get back for Ireland

Ireland defender Marc Wilson is hoping his Stoke City return will give him a chance to join Ireland's battle for a World cup place in Brazil in 2014.
The 25-year-old County Armagh born defender expects to be available for Stoke's game at Fulham next Saturday after four months out with a broken leg.

He revealed that Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has kept in touch during his injury absence, so he is hoping to force his way back into the manager's plans as Ireland try to qualify for next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Wilson, who has three senior caps, said: "I need to get myself playing for Stoke first and foremost before I can even consider being selected for Ireland.

"Giovanni Trapattoni has texted me a few times to ask how I am getting on and said he hasn't forgotten me.

"That was good to hear, so if I can get myself right here hopefully I can get myself back in the international team.

"Ireland have a difficult game coming up against Sweden. It's a crucial match because they are one point ahead of us in the group after they got that magnificent result against Germany.

"It's going to be a very important game for us and I want to get myself back for it."

Monday, January 21, 2013

New faces in Trapattoni squad to face Poland

Giovanni Trapattoni has named his Ireland squad for the Poland international friendly on 6 February at the Aviva Stadium, their last game ahead of the crucial double-header away to Sweden and home to Austria on 22 and 26 March.

New faces include Anthony Pilkington as well as Derby County trio Conor Sammon, Jeff Hendrick and Richard Keogh.

The manager said: "I have decided to use this friendly game as an opportunity to work with younger players to see their potential.

"As a result, I have given senior players like Robbie Keane and Stephen Kelly a break for this fixture.

"We saw a number of strong performances from our younger players in the second half of last year and we intend to build from those strong foundations, using this friendly match to introduce more new talent like Pilkington, Hendrick, Sammon and (Richard) Keogh.

Provisional Ireland squad: Keiren Westwood, David Forde, Stephen Henderson, Ciaran Clark, Darren O’Dea, Paul McShane, Seamus Coleman, Richard Keogh, Richard Dunne*, Greg Cunningham, Stephen Ward, Anthony Pilkington, James McClean, Robbie Brady, Aiden McGeady, Glenn Whelan, James McCarthy, Jeff Hendrick, David Meyler, Wes Hoolahan, Simon Cox, Shane Long, Jon Walters, Andy Keogh, Kevin Doyle