Monday, February 27, 2012

McGeady urges Derry duo to seize their opportunity

Ireland winger Aiden McGeady has urged Derry duo Shane Duffy and James McClean to take their chance this week to impress Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni.

Duffy and McClean were not in Trapattoni's original squad for the Czech Republic friendly, but are now in line to make their international debuts on Wednesday night at Lansdowne Road.

A combination of Richard Dunne's shoulder injury and impressive defensive displays for Everton in recent months has seen Duffy return to the senior international set-up.

This week will be the 20-year-old centre-back's first opportunity with the senior squad since he ruptured his hepatic artery in a training match in May 2010 and Trapattoni said yesterday that Duffy is likely to feature at some point during the Czech Republic friendly.

Fellow Derry man McClean was added to the squad last week and Trap will be hoping to see some of his impressive recent club displays for Sunderland transfer to the international stage.

"This is the last real game before the Euros it is a big chance for everyone to impress and get in the manager's final squad selection," said McGeady.

"I was actually with James coming back in the car from the airport. We just spoke briefly. The two boys came in today for the first training session. The two of them done well and will be good additions to the squad.

"You have got the chance to impress the manager in training, but game time is when it really counts. It is up to them and it is a great opportunity for them."

The Russian season does not start until the 5th of March, so McGeady's pre-season training has meant he has seen little of McClean's rapid progress in the Premiership.

McGeady said: "The last month or so I have been everywhere in training camps. I have not seen much football. I have seen bits here and there.

"From what I know he has been performing well and he looks a really good prospect. Direct and pacey.

"He looks as if he has got a good cross on him as well and a knack of scoring goals. He has been doing really well. He's obviously worthy of his call-up."

With Trapattoni saying that McClean could play on either wing, the Sunderland man's inclusion could be seen to be competition for McGeady.

However, the former Celtic midfielder welcomes any contest for his starting place and feels it can only benefit the team.

"It is the same at club level. There are always players vying for the same position," McGeady said.

"Of course if there is somebody who is going to take your place, then you up your game. I try to up my game anyway, but obviously if I do people will say it is down to someone breathing down my neck.

"The more players you have got playing at the top of their game, playing in the Premiership, then of course it is going to be healthy for the squad."

With just over three months to Ireland's opening game in Euro 2012 McGeady freely admits that the excitement of playing in his first major tournament is leading to a few restless night's.

"I wake up at night dreaming about it just," he laughed.

"You just want to get to a major finals. Now we have to make sure we stay fit and give ourselves the best possible chance to shine at the Euros.

"Everyone is absolutely buzzing for it and still on a high from last November. We are looking forward to the initial gathering at the end of May and then the championships themselves. It is going to be fantastic.

"We weren't expected to qualify and we did, but now we are there we are going to do everything we can to get out of the group. We are in a very tough group.

"Our record has been good against Italy over the last few years. We played [Croatia] not so long ago and we drew 0-0.

"Spain are obviously the favourites to win the whole competition. But it is not totally unrealistic for us to get out of the group. We have a good set of players and we are due a place in the tournament. We'll see what happens. We'll give ourselves every chance."

Monday, February 20, 2012

James McClean honoured after Ireland call-up

Sunderland midfielder James McClean has been called into Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland squad for the friendly at Lansdowne Road on 29 February.

McClean tweeted after hearing the news of his international call-up: "Absolutely buzzin and honoured to be called up to represent my country... best feeling there is."

The Derry born winger has made a sensational starts to his Sunderland career and had been expected to be included in Giovanni Trapattoni's initial squad when it was announced earlier this month, but will now take his place along with Paul Green in a 26-man squad.

McClean was signed from his home-town club for £350,000 last summer by O'Neill's predecessor Steve Bruce, but it was not until the new manager's arrival at the Stadium of Light that he was given the opportunity to make an impact on the senior stage.

McClean made an eye-catching first-team debut as a substitute in the new manager's opening game, a 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Blackburn, and after a further two appearances from the bench, was handed a start against Manchester City on New Year's Day.

He has remained in the team ever since and has contributed four goals as well as some fine wing play to Sunderland's impressive run of form, which saw them beat Arsenal 2-0 on Saturday to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals and extend their record under O'Neill to 10 victories in 15 games.

Asked recently about McClean's international potential ahead of this summer's Euro 2012 finals, O'Neill said: "He is more than worth having a look at. I think he can force his way into the squad.

"Of course, the players who have got the Republic of Ireland there would deserve great credit for that, but there is always room for an emerging talent."

McClean's chance may now come earlier than he initially thought having been presented with the opportunity to impress the Italian in training at Ireland's Malahide base ahead of the clash with the Czechs.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Andrews eyeing long-term Baggies future

Ireland international Keith Andrews is already eyeing up a long-term future with West Brom following a dream debut in last week’s mauling of Wolves.

Dublin born Andrews, who started his career with Wolves in 1999, playing in 72 matches over six years, scored West Brom’s fourth goal in the 5-1 rout at Molineux.

Andrews has admitted that he would like to make the move permanent.

'I would certainly be open to a longer deal,' said Andrews.

'I have come here to play for a head coach I want to play for and a club I believe is run well and has a good set of lads that I enjoy coming in and working with every day.

'I enjoy being part of the team, so I am certainly open to it and I'm sure if I keep going the way I am then the club will be as well.

'I was delighted just to get on and make my debut and I was delighted with the result.
'The score, and to win by that margin, was Roy of the Rovers stuff. It was a dream come true.'

31 year old Andrews will be keen to get as much game time as possible for the Baggies over the next few months as he wants to remain firmly within Giovanni Trapattoni’s thoughts for a starting birth in the Irish midfield for the upcoming Euro finals in Poland later this year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Irish players on Twitter

Keith Fahey @FaheyKeith
Sean St Ledger @seanstledger12
Shane Duffy @ShaneDuffy34
Seamus Coleman @seamiecoleman23
Steven Reid @stevenreid12
Noel Hunt @boyhunt
James McClean @JMcC_23
Shay Given @No1shaygiven
James McCarthy @JamesMcCarthy_4
Anthony Stokes @stoksey10
Conor Henderson @Henderson_91
Matt Holland @mattholland8
David Meyler @DavidMeyler
Kevin Long @kevinlong28
Jay O'Shea @Jayoshea23
Dylan Hayes @DylHayes
Jack Grealish @JackGrealish1
Derrick Williams @DerickWilliams_
Gary O'Neill @GaryONeill_8
Bradley Lewis @BradleyLewis_1
Ciaran Clark @CiaranClark_21
Sean Long @Seanie95
Dylan McGlade @Dylan_McGlade
Dean Keily @deankiely40
Stephen Folan @StephenFolan
Callum Morris @Calmorris37
Conor Hourihane @ConorHourihane
Dave Langan @DavyLangan
Paul McGrath @Paulmcgrath5
Clinton Morrison @morrisonclinton
Rory Delap @Delap24
Wes Hoolihan @weshoolahan14
Simon Cox @Scoxy31Real
Conor Clifford @conorclifford91
Kenneth McEvoy @kennethMcevoy
Sean Scannell @BigScanz
Damien Delaney @damiendelaneyIT
Darren Randolph @Randz587
Karl Sheppard @karlsheppard21
Enda Stevens @Estevens1990
Jamie McDevitt @jamiedevitt20
Rhys Murphy @_murphy34
Ronan Murray @RonanMurray28
Mark Connolly @Mark5Connolly
Liam Irwin @1liamirwin
Ben Glasgow @Ben_Glasgow
Samir Carruthers @SamirCarruthers
Mikey Drennan @mikeydrennan
Sean Murray @seanmuzza
Connor Smith @connorsmith1993
Jamie Smith @Jamie_smith5
Kealan Dillon @KealanDillon
John O'Flynn @flynny9
Darren O'Dea @DOdeaOfficial

Monday, February 13, 2012

Shane Duffy added to Ireland squad for Czech friendly

Irish boss Giovanni Trapattoni has called Everton defender Shane Duffy into the Ireland squad for this month’s international friendly against Czech Republic at Lansdowne Road.

The 20-year-old Derry born defender will replace Richard Dunne in the 24-man squad after the Villa defender learned he will sidelined for eight weeks with a fractured clavicle suffered during Villa’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City yesterday afternoon.

Duffy will join up with the squad for training on February 26, three days before the Dublin friendly. The Derryman has shown great promise at the heart of the Everton defence in recent weeks having made his Premier League debut last month against Tottenham Hotspur.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Trapattoni names 24 man squad for Czech friendly in Dublin

Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has named a 24-man squad for the upcoming international friendly against the Czech Republic in Dublin on February 29th.

Speaking after the squad announcement, the Irish boss said, "This game is the beginning of our Euro 2012 preparations.

"As we face this fixture, it is important for our players to remember the attitude and performance that brought us qualification.

"The Czech Republic are a strong team, and their system is similar to Croatia and Spain.

"This game is vital in helping us choose our 23-player squad for May.

"We will continue to monitor our players afterwards, and keep a close eye on their fitness in the coming months."

Goalkeepers: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall).

Defenders: John O'Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Richard Dunne (Aston Villa), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City), Darren O'Dea (Leeds United).

Midfielders: Kevin Foley (Wolves), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves).

Forwards: Robbie Keane (Aston Villa), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long (West Brom), Simon Cox (West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke City).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's green for go for James McClean's Ireland international career

James McClean's Ireland international career has been given the green light by FIFA.

The move clears the way for the Derryman to be included in the Ireland squad to be announced by Giovanni Trapattoni tomorrow for the upcoming friendly against the Czech Republic In Lansdowne Road on February 29th.

McClean has taken the premiership by storm since his Sunderland debut three months ago and his eye for goal, dazzling wing play & overall performance has had Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill singing the praises of the young winger.

There had been concerns that the IFA were deliberately holding up his paperwork, however the paperwork has now been approved by FIFA and McClean is free to Start his international career with Ireland.