Monday, February 7, 2011

Coleman and Clark to make Ireland debuts

Ciarán Clark and Séamus Coleman will make their Ireland international debuts in tomorrow night’s Carling Nations Cup opener against Wales, However Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has lost Robbie Keane, James McCarthy, Keith Treacy, Liam Lawrence and Leon Best to injury.

Despite his hope that the Killybegs born player might develop into an attacking right back over the coming years, Coleman, the Italian said, will start on the right side of midfield for the Wales game while Clark will be used at left back.

The pair, he said, will get opportunities, “not just in this game but also in the qualifiers”, a comment that seemed to suggest Clark, in particular, has a chance of very quickly making the place his own if he can impress on this occasion.

Speaking about his inclusion in his first Ireland senior squad, Clark said “ I’ve just got to play as well as I can and hopefully impress. I’ve got to try and stay in the squad. There are a number of players who aren’t here who might be here for the next meet-up so there are a lot of people to choose from. I’ve got to keep training and playing hard and just see what might happen over the next couple of years.”

Clark, said he was excited by the prospect of making his senior debut.

“From a young age we have been a big Irish family and that is always what I wanted to do,” he said. “It was a good experience being with England. Ireland never came in at the time and that was just the path that things took but this is where I really wanted to be. Now I’ve made my decision and I would be honoured to be involved and hopefully I will be.”

Trapattoni seemed a little taken aback that James McCarthy will again be unavailable to him after the Wigan midfielder was withdrawn by his club whose medical staff, the Italian said, felt it be better if the player got the opportunity to rest having taken “a couple of knocks” in Saturday’s defeat of Blackburn, only his second game after returning from a long-term injury.

“It is a pity,” said Trapattoni because it would have been a good opportunity for him. I like him and could have looked at him in two different positions, behind the strikers and in midfield but it is not a problem, there will be other opportunities.”