Friday, October 1, 2010

Seamus Coleman gets Ireland call

Everton defender Seamus Coleman has been called into the Ireland squad ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Russia and Slovakia.

The Donegal born full back has been hugely impressive in little more than 180 minutes of first team action this season and despite the Toffees' poor start to the campaign, he comes into Giovanni Trapattoni’s squad for the first time as a result of a calf injury to Stephen Kelly.

Keith Treacy and CSKA Sofia striker Cillian Sheridan are both on standby for the squad having initially been named in a provisional 26-man squad last month.

Midfielder Keith Andrews is due to make his first start of the season for Blackburn Rovers against Stoke tomorrow. Andrews came on as a sub last weekend and played 70 minutes for the reserves in midweek.

Richard Dunne is available for Aston Villa after missing the last two matches with a back injury.

Ireland face Russia at Lansdowne Road next Friday before travelling to Zilina to face Slovakia on October 12th. They currently top the group on six points, ahead of Slovakia on goal difference.

Aiden McGeady will have precious little inside information to impart to his teammates ahead of the Russia game after only one of the Spartak Moscow winger’s teammates was included in Dick Advocaat’s squad and defender Sergei Parshivlyuk is unlikely to start in Dublin.

McGeady will, however, be well aware of the dangers posed by Aleksandr Kerzhakov. The Zenit St. Petersburg striker was cast into the international wilderness following Russia’s World Cup play-off defeat to Slovenia last November. But two hat-tricks in his last three club matches led to a dramatic recall from the Dutch coach as he desperately seeks to rescue the Russians’ qualifying campaign.

Advocaat’s side come into the match under severe pressure following their defeat in Moscow to Slovakia. The reaction to that shock has been predictably scathing and despite claiming he would not bow to the “frenzy in the press or speculations of the fans”, Advocaat has done exactly that.

Dmitri Torbinski and Dmitri Sychev – two of the players singled out for criticism in the Moscow sports dailies – have been cut adrift while Denis Kolodin and Alan Kasaev are also dropped. In come Igor Denisov, fit again after a foot injury, and the uncapped pair of Parshivlyuk and Pavel Mamaev of CSKA Moscow.

Tottenham’s Roman Pavlyuchenko, yet to start a competitive game under Advocaat, will be vying with Kerzhakov and Stuttgart’s Pavel Pogrebnyak for the lone striker role, while Andrey Arshavin and Alan Dzagoev should provide extra firepower from the flanks.

Ireland squad :

Goalkeepers: Shay Given, Keiren Westwood, Joe Murphy

Defenders: John O’Shea, Seamus Coleman, Richard Dunne, Sean St Ledger, Greg Cunningham, Kevin Foley, Paul McShane, Kevin Kilbane

Midfielders : Keith Andrews, Glenn Whelan, Darron Gibson, Paul Green, Liam Lawrence, Aiden McGeady, Andy Keogh, Damien Duff, Keith Fahey

Forwards : Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle, Shane Long.

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