Trapattoni turns to Green after Gibson rebuff
SOCCER:Having been rebuffed by Darron Gibson the morning David Meyler departed due to injury, Giovanni Trapattoni showed that he hasn’t quite thrown caution to the wind in his attempt to rejuvenate his Republic of Ireland squad by calling Paul Green in for tomorrow night’s friendly international against Poland at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 7.45pm).
The industry and tireless application of the 29-year-old Leeds United midfielder has always endeared him to Trapattoni, but because of his workaday style, he, or his ongoing involvement with the squad, tends to be regarded by the Tapattoni’s critics as firm evidence of the manager’s conservatism.
His call-up yesterday, Marco Tardelli confirmed after training, came after Gibson again turned down an opportunity to join the squad, with the 25-year-old Derryman, who is currently in Spain for an Everton training camp, informing the FAI that he is currently not fit enough to be involved.
Gibson has featured in two games for his club since missing a month due to a thigh strain and Tardelli, who can be scathing enough on occasions, played the matter down, insisting that his decision not to travel home on this occasion would not count against him when Trapattoni sits down to select his squad for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria.
“When we want to pick a player and he is available then we are very happy,” said the Italian. “I don’t understand where the problem is.
“He told us that he had played just one match and that he preferred to stay at home; that he wasn’t available because he had a little problem after the match, (but) I think Darron wants to come here so maybe yes, I think so, it depends if he is well or not.”
It’s far from clear whether Gibson would have featured in the game had he agreed to travel but in his absence Jeff Hendrick looks likely to make his debut in central midfield alongside James McCarthy.
Wes Hoolahan could also be on course to start if yesterday’s training game was anything to go by, something that will further undermine the self-effacing claim in the Norwich midfielder’s twitter profile to be someone who “once played a minute or two for Ireland”.
Tardelli, meanwhile, strongly suggested that Greg Cunningham will be involved from the outset, a welcome return for the 22-year-old who earned the last of his three senior caps almost two and a half years ago in the home defeat by Norway.
“Cunningham is technically good,” said Ireland’s assistant manager. “He’s not strong physically but he’s very tough. He shoots very well. He’s good for us.
“On Wednesday, sure, he deserves to play because he started to play with us two years ago and after that he had a little problem with his knee. I saw him many times and he’s fit so it’s possible he can start on Wednesday.”
Trapattoni will almost certainly confirm his starting line-up this afternoon, with Shane Long and Ciaran Clarke available for selection, according to Tardelli, despite the fact that the pair sat out training.