GIOVANNI TRAPATTONI BACKED his Ireland new boys to show their quality against Poland — and maybe book themselves a place on the plane to Sweden.
Trapattoni gathered a squad peppered with unfamiliar faces in Malahide this morning as preparations begin for Wednesday’s friendly in the Aviva Stadium.
Derby County trio Conor Sammon, Jeff Hendrick and Richard Keogh are all in line to make their first senior appearances while goalkeeper Stephen Henderson is the other uncapped name in the squad, which was cut in size yesterday when wingers Anthony Pilkington (hamstring) and Aiden McGeady (ankle) were ruled out through injury.
Pilkington’s Norwich team-mate Wes Hoolahan and Reading defender Alex Pearce sat out this morning’s session but both are expected to be fit to train tomorrow. Shane Long — who played the full 90 minutes in West Brom’s 1-0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur this afternoon — is due to join the squad tomorrow.
“I hope so,” Trapattoni said. “If he’s not injured, I hope so.”
The Italian has already dropped strong hints that Sammon and Hendrick will feature on Wednesday and said that he was looking forward to seeing what the Rams pair have to offer.
I think they have the good quality to help in our team and I am very, very anxious to see them.
It’s a pity that Pilkington is injured because with Sammon and Hendrick, I thought we could have a good balance of technical and attitude. It is important that they give us their enthusiasm and commitment because with their technical quality, I am sure they can play well.
There is a chance, he added, that the squad’s new faces can force themselves into the reckoning for the World Cup qualifiers later in the year.
“It’s easy to start new players in a friendly game but I’m sure that one or two can play also in the future, in the qualifiers.”
Trapattoni has also spoken to Richard Dunne who was originally included on a standby list before suffering another setback last week as he continues his recovery from a groin injury.
“He wants to come back, he wants to be here,” he explained. “I said to him at this moment, don’t make trouble with the club because we need him in March.”
Trapattoni again moved to draw a line under speculation surrounding possible international comebacks for retired veterans Shay Given and Damien Duff, saying that he is looking now to the “next generation.”
I sent them an SMS and informed them about this new situation. They answered me, ‘Thank you but if you need us, we will be very very ready for you and for our country.’
In this moment we look about us for the future, for the next generation.
It’s good feedback to [know] when we need them, they will come back again.