Trapattoni to give youth its head


Soccer:Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni will give his fringe players the opportunity force their way into his reckoning when the side meets Serbia in a friendly next month. Not normally given to flights of fancy, the Italian has made wholesale changes for the trip to Belgrade.

A host of first team regulars will be left at home with the spine of the team – Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Keith Andrews and Robbie Keane – all rested. Instead, the likes of Marc Wilson, James McCarthy, Darren O’Dea, Seamus Coleman and Keith Treacy will be allowed to “prove their personalities and qualities” in a hostile away environment.

The absence of Damien Duff, with question marks still hanging over his international future, will cast doubt on his involvement in the World Cup qualifiers for Brazil in 2014 but it appears likely Trapattoni is merely exploring his options on the flanks with James McClean likely to play a more prominent role.

Following Ireland’s dire performances in the Euro 2012 finals – where the side came home after a series of drubbings – Trapattoni has precious little time to rebuild ahead of the World Cup campaign, with the first qualifier against Kazakhstan taking place at the start of September.

With Andrews suspended for that game, Trapattoni gave a clear indication today that he would start James McCarthy in Belgrade and deploy him alongside Glenn Whelan for the qualifier in Kazakhstan.

“This friendly offers us a great opportunity to try out younger players ahead of our World Cup qualifying campaign,” Trapattoni said this afternoon. “As a result, I have decided to leave some of our senior players out of the squad for this fixture. Serbia are a very good team with a great football heritage, and will provide us with a great test before our game against Kazakhstan.

“I am looking forward to working with each of these players next month. As we prepare for a new journey for this team, it is important that we remember our last campaign as we build for a brighter future.”

Republic of Ireland squad v Serbia:Westwood, Forde, Randolph; Wilson, O'Shea, St Ledger, O'Dea, Ward, Kelly, McShane; Whelan, Gibson, McCarthy, Green, Coleman, McGeady, Keogh, McClean, Treacy; Doyle, Long, Cox, Walters.

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