Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Irish fringe players need to impress Trapattoni to secure Euro 2012 squad place

Seamus Coleman is one of a number of young Irish internationals focused on making the Ireland squad for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland next summer, but all must convince Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni to include them on the European adventure.

The Everton defender is one of a number of players fighting to make Trap’s final 23 man squad for the Group C games against Croatia, Spain and Italy.

The Killybegs born midfielder knows he has to find favour with his international manager before the Euro 2012 squads are named next May.

“The only thing to do now is to play well for your club week in and week out between now and the end of the season and show the manager what you can do,” said the Goodison Park favourite

Meanwhile Trapattoni has challenged James McCarthy to find his voice and force his way into Ireland's squad for the Euro's.

McCarthy put in a man-of-the-match performance for Wigan against Chelsea last Saturday and Trapattoni sent the 21-year-old midfielder a message of congratulations afterwards.

Trap said - "James did well and I sent him a message saying 'bravo'," said Trapattoni. "He answer me also. He can grow very well. But, he is still a little shy. He can play many good balls. But he can call for the ball too. Sometimes, he is free. If he is more vocal, he can improve 30pc more.

"When I was a young player, I played immediately. In the past, James didn't play. But now he's started playing again and that's very, very important because he has a good quality."

And Trapattoni has also warned Darron Gibson that it's in his best interests to seek a new club when the transfer window opens in January.

"I know the way he thinks and this is his intention, I know he wishes to go for this situation but it depends on what agents and his manager will say," Trapattoni said.

"Gibson has great vision and he shoots very well. but in the Wolves game, Manchester United won 4-1 and he was on the bench so it is hard for him."

Although Derry born Gibson is still in Trapattoni's plans, the Italian admits that he will find it hard to select him for next summer's European Championships if he does not start playing more regularly by getting a move away from Old Trafford.

"It is a problem now that he stays on the bench. In one month it is very difficult to recover your condition,"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

McClean upbeat about future

Former Derry City winger James McClean made an impressive debut last weekend after new Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill gave the 22 year old his chance to shine at the stadium of light, and the Irish international hopeful duly obliged by delighting the Wearside faithful with a stunning impact performance after entering as a second-half substitute.

McClean, who recently stated that it was his dream to represent Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland side, will have done his future international prospects no harm with his eye-catching Sunderland debut.

Signed by previous manager Steve Bruce in a £350,000 summer buy from Derry City, first-team opportunities have been hard to come by.

However, when given one by O’Neill, McClean grasped it with both hands and played a key role in the Black Cats’ dramatic comeback.

He said: “When I arrived, I just wanted to get into the team as soon as possible.

“I did not honestly expect it to be as quick as it has been.

“I came here with the mindset of working hard every day in training, trying to improve as a player and eventually getting into the team.

“Now I am just delighted to get my debut out of the way, but I am not taking anything for granted, I know it is only one game.

“I will continue with what I have been doing in training and try to improve.”

Of his debut, McClean revealed any pre-match nerves he might have had were eased by a quiet word from O’Neill prior to coming on the pitch.

He added: “It was not a bad debut at all with the manager’s first game in charge and to get the win as well. It was an all-round good day.

“I just came on and played my own game and it was a great moment. The manager just told me to go on, play my normal game and not be nervous.

“That gave me the confidence to just go on and do what I have been doing in the reserves.”

Last weekend’s win over Blackburn ended a winless run of five games for Sunderland and McClean has credited new gaffer O’Neill for providing the spark to inspire the team to victory.

He continued: “The new manager has come in and been a breath of fresh air.

“He has given the lads a lot of confidence by being upbeat. It has rubbed off on the players.

“Training has been different as every manager has their own style, but there have not been big changes.

“You could see what it meant to the fans to have Martin O’Neill.

“For him to gain a win in his first game in charge made it the perfect day.

“His managerial record speaks for itself. When you are a player like myself coming through the ranks, it gives you a confidence boost when there is someone like him in charge

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Clubs flock to monitor Sheppard

Skysports.com understands a host of clubs are tracking Shamrock Rovers striker Karl Sheppard.

Sheppard is out of contract at the end of the month and the news has alerted a number of clubs in England to his possible availability.

Should Sheppard leave Shamrock Rovers any compensation for his signature would be minimal as he has only been at the League of Ireland club for a year and joined them on a free transfer.

The likes of Sunderland, Blackpool, Cardiff, Watford and Peterborough are all thought to be keeping tabs on the Ireland Under 21 international.

Sheppard will have the ideal chance to put himself in the shop window when he lines up against Tottenham in the Europa League on Thursday with scouts set to watch the former Everton youngster.

Sheppard's exclusive agent, Dan Fletcher, admits it comes as no surprise that a number of sides are interested in landing the 20-year-old forward

"Karl's had a great season for Shamrock, he's scored 10 goals and is the first striker name on their team sheet,"

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ireland confirm Polish base

Ireland will be based in Gdynia in Poland for Euro 2012, the Football Association today confirmed

Giovanni Trapattoni and Marco Tardelli visited Poland this week to sign off on the base camp for the finals.

Gdynia is located in the Pomeranian region of Poland and is part of a metropolitan area around the city of Gdansk, known as Tricity. The team will be located at the Sheraton Sopot Hotel.

Trapattoni said: "I am very happy that we have been able to secure Gdynia as a base camp for Euro 2012. This base meets and exceeds all of our criteria, having a good training ground, being close to the airport and being based in Poland.

"The hotel and training facilities are excellent and provide us with a well-positioned base with all of the facilities required for the championships."

The Irish team will train at the Municipal Stadium in Gdynia, a new ground with a capacity of 15,000.

Ireland's first match will see them transfer to the Municipal Stadium in Poznan to face Croatia on 10 June.

Ireland will then play Spain in the Gdansk Arena on 14 June and in the final Group C match, Ireland will take on Italy in Poznan on 18 June.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trapattoni lifts manager of the year award

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has won the Philips Manager of the Year award after guiding the national side to their first major championship finals in 10 years.

The Italian was in competition with Dublin football manager Pat Gilroy, who led the capital side to their first All-Ireland title in 16 years, Brian Cody, who lifted the Liam McCarthy trophy with Kilkenny, and Leinster's Heineken Cup-winning coach Joe Schmidt.

But the award, which was announced at a ceremony in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin on Wednesday afternoon, was given to the 72-year-old in recognition of his achievement of guiding the 'Boys In Green' to second place in Group B and the subsequent 5-1 aggregate win over Estonia in the play-offs.

The last time the award went to an international football manager was in 2001 when Mick McCarthy brought Ireland to the 2002 World Cup finals in Japan/Korea.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Italy. Euro 2012 draw

Ireland face a tough group after being drawn against world and European Champions Spain, Italy and Croatia in Kiev on Friday evening.

Giovanni Trapattoni's side, who will play all of their Group C games in Poland, kick off their finals campaign against Croatia in Gdansk on 10 June.

Ireland will remain in the port city for the clash against tournament favourites Spain on 14 June, before travelling to Poznan for the side's final group game against Italy on 18 June.

Speaking after the draw Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni said: "We have to think about football where anything is possible, we have to play with the same mentality we have shown and I am confident. I know Italy better but every game is different, Spain are also a very, very strong team but we have to think about our moment. It is important now that our squad is complete with no injuries."

Ireland V Croatia - Sun June 10,Poznan.
Ireland V Spain - Thu 14 June,Gdansk.
Ireland V Italy. - Mon 18 June,Poznan.