Gibson withdraws from Ireland squad
Soccer:Republic of Ireland midfielder Darron Gibson has withdrawn from the squad for the first World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan in Astana next Friday. The Everton player is not injured. Rather, it appears his decision is borne out of disillusionment with the international set-up following a hugely disappointing Euro 2012.
It is good news for Sunderland's David Meyler, who has been called up as a replacement, but it leaves Gibson's international future in doubt, and Giovanni Trapattoni without another option in midfield ahead of a new campaign after the injured Paul Green withdrew last week.
The Italian insisted today the door remains open for Gibson to return, but the question remains as to whether the Derryman wants to, after he watched every minute of Ireland's three defeats in Poland from the bench.
"When Darron informed me of his decision to withdraw, I called him to talk things through," said the manager in an FAI statement this afternoon. "As we embark upon a brand new campaign, he is very much in my plans and I consider him to be a key player for this campaign.
"However, Darron has said that although he doesn't want to let annyone down, he doesn't feel ready to return to the squad for this fixture after the disappointment of Euro 2012.
"I hope Darron will take this time to reflect positvely on his international career and return to us in time for the Germany (October 12th) game in October."
Trapattoni is already coping without the suspended Keith Andrews in midfield and during the friendly draw against Serbia in Belgrade last month he auditioned James McCarthy for the role beside Glenn Whelan, and experimented with James McClean in a three-man midfield.
McClean's role may well have been earmarked for Gibson had he not withdrawn from that squad with what was described as a thigh strain, while he must have been in contention to start in Astana after a promising start to the season with Everton.
The Italian has seen the vastly-experienced Shay Given and Damien Duff announce their retirements from international football in recent weeks and although Richard Dunne has confirmed his intention to play on once he has recovered from injury, the manager is having to contemplate significant change.
He will hope Gibson does eventually return to the fold with Group C favourites Germany, four days before his side heads for the Faroe Islands.
Four days after the game against Kazakhstan, Ireland will face Oman in a friendly at Fulham's Craven Cottage.