Trapattoni lays cards on the table


Soccer:Giovanni Trapattoni has confirmed he will start with what has come to be seen as his first choice XI against Hungary and that if everyone comes through the game unscathed the same side will line out against Croatia in Poznan next Sunday.

The Ireland manager also hinted that if things go to plan these players could form an unchanged team for the duration of the tournament.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference in the Puskas Ferenc stadium, Trapattoni expressed growing confidence that John O’Shea will prove his fitness here in Budapest and go on to feature in the European Championships but, he added, the Sunderland defender does still have to provide evidence he can cope with the demands of a competitive game by getting through the bulk of this one, with around 70 minutes of action the suggested target.

Shay Given, the 73 year-old said, had already established he has recovered from the knee problem that kept him out of the Bosnia-Herzegovona, while all of the other players are also reckoned to be fit.

Trapattoni dismissed suggestions he might be doing Slaven Bilic a favour by effectively naming his side for the Croatia game so early and said that it was more important that his players get to take part in a final dress rehearsal for next week’s tournament opener.

“I watch DVDs of the other teams and have people at their games and they do the same with us so it makes no difference,” he said. “They know our players and the way we play.

“But many goals in the modern game are scored from set pieces – corners and free-kicks – and it is important that our players get as much practice at these as possible before the Championships.”

Asked if this would be his team for all three games he said that it was possible, “if we have no injuries or cards”.

Robbie Keane said that the predictability of the Italian’s team selection has been an asset to the team over the last few years.

“With every game the players know their roles a little bit better and look a little more comfortable. The players on the bench know exactly what is expected of them if they get on too.”

Rep of Ireland (v Hungary):Given (Aston Villa); O’Shea (Sunderland), Dunne (Aston Villa), St Ledger (Leicester City), Ward (Wolves); Duff (Fulham), Andrews (West Brom), Whelan (Wolves), McGeady (Spartak Moscow); Doyle (Wolves), Keane (LA Galaxy).