IRELAND MANAGER GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI has placed his team’s World Cup destiny in the hands of his old guard from Tallaght ahead of the pivotal World Cup Qualifier against Sweden.
Robbie Keane will lead the attacking line, alongside Shane Long, while Richard Dunne will partner John O’Shea in the heart of the Irish defence.
David Forde is back in goal for Ireland after missing the friendly encounter with Wales. Marc Wilson and Seamus Coleman start at left and right back, with James McClean and Jonathan Walters up their respective touchlines. The midfield duo is Glenn Whelan and Everton’s £13m signing James McCarthy.
“I have watched the game against Sweden and I am convinced that we had good chances to score and to win the game. In Stockholm, we played very well,” Trapattoni said at today’s Avviva Stadium press conference.
“Now we need to repeat the same performance with full commitment.”
The Italian was asked why McClean got the nod ahead of other options in the Ireland squad.
“At first I thought we would play with four strikers [Cox and Walters out wide] but the second time, I thought three strikers was enough,” he told reporters.
“During the game, changing to the other option could be very important. During the game I can choose to have other tactical opportunities. That is the reason.
“In Sweden, yes, he played well. He is also physically strong and this will be a physical, but also technical, game against Sweden. They are strong physically.
Richard Dunne starts his first Ireland game with the Boys in Green since the Euro 2012 campaign in Poland.
“I said at the last press conference that I have to think about Richard because first, it was a very long injury and second, he was also without a club. I said I would follow him because it was important that he was in a fit condition,” said Trap.
Sweden will announce their team later today, at 5:30pm.
Ireland: D Forde; S Coleman, R Dunne, J O’Shea, M Wilson; J Walters, G Whelan, J McCarthy, J McClean; S Long, R Keane.