Games likely to come too soon for Dunne

Wed, Sep 26, 2012, 01:00

Soccer: Richard Dunne has been named on a standby list for the Republic of Ireland ahead of the World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Germany and Faroe Islands next month, but Giovanni Trapattoni is not holding out much hope of him making his way into the reckoning between now and then.

The Aston Villa defender has not played this season after surgery on his groin and Trapattoni says he needs to play at least one club game between now and the first international against the Germans at Aviva Stadium on October 12th if he is to have any hope of featuring in it or in Torshavn four days later.

"I don't think he will make it, although maybe there will be a miracle. But it's better that we have the option," said the Italian, who would not be drawn today on who might deputise for Dunne against Germany, but with a team of such quality on the way to Dublin, it is sure to be his main concern.

"We’ll see. We’ll see when the team is on the pitch, then you will know. There’s no point in speaking about John’s (O'Shea) position. We also have (Seán) St Ledger, who has played well for us. John has played well at full-back for us. I know I have a decision to make at centre half. I have watched (Germany striker Miroslav) Klose play in many games. I know the German payers, I was there.

"But we have St Ledger and (Darren) O’Dea and they played very well against Serbia in the friendly game (in August). Maybe in two weeks we will see, at the moment I haven’t decided."

Manchester youngster Robbie Brady is also waiting in the wings after a hugely impressive debut against Oman earlier this month, when he scored one and played a crucial role in two of the other three Ireland scored in the Craven Cottage friendly.

"I didn't speak to him," said the Italian. "I spoke to him after the match and I congratulated him because I liked him a lot but we have players with more experience."

Keith Andrews is one of them and he is back in contention for a starting place after suspension ruled him out of the fortunate 2-1 win over Kazakhstan in Astana nearly three weeks ago. That will leave Trapattoni with a decision on whether to retain James McCarthy in midfield after three consecutive starts or reinstate arguably his best performer at Euro 2012 in Poland last June.

Two options that won't be available to Trapattoni are Darron Gibson, whose injury is conveniently disguising the fact he withdrew himself from international duty recently after sitting on the bench for Euro 2012, and Sunderland's David Meyler, who performed well on his debut against Oman in centre midfield but has been omitted by the Italian.

"Gibson is injured at the moment," said Trapattoni. "He knows the situation. We couldn’t ask him about various things. Gibson is still disappointed, but we will wait until he’s plays and ask him again."

Germany, said Trapattoni, are the "strongest team in our group" and "legends in football", but he repeated his mantra that belief is key and "football is a 90 minute game".

He added: "We have left our disappointment behind us the last day and we must believe again in our quality because without this we will perform very, very badly. Kazakhstan, for all the talk about it being an easy game, it was not easy. It’s difficult to play there and it will be difficult for Germany.

"The results have to give us belief in our quality, in our attitude and mentality. We have good possibilities because this group has balance."

Rep of Ireland squad (23)

Goalkeepers: K Westwood; D Forde, D Randolph

Defenders: M Wilson, J O’Shea, S St Ledger, D O’Dea, S Ward, S Kelly, P McShane,

Midfielders: G Whelan, J McCarthy, K Andrews, K Fahey, S Coleman, A McGeady, A Keogh, J McClean

Strikers: R Keane, K Doyle, S Long, S Cox, J Walters

Standby: R Dunne, R Brady

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