Seamus Coleman is back in the Republic of Ireland squad for next month’s international friendly against Serbia but there is no place for Shay Given in the 23-man squad.
Coleman, who set up Ross Barkley’s winning goal for Everton in their pre-season 1-0 friendly win against Dundee United at Tannadice on Wednesday, was informed of the decision of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni after a phonecall the same night. Trapattoni was in Jackson’s Hotel in Ballybofey to make the announcement.
The 23-year-old won the last of his five caps last June in a 2-0 friendly win over Italy in Liege but a frustrating injury-laded season at Goodison Park meant he was placed on standby and never taken to Poland for Euro 2012. Trapattoni hinted Coleman, who has been operating at right-midfield for his club, will perhaps need more experience in the right-back role to become a fixture in the Irish side.
“In the past I said we need defenders who can play more offensive,” Trapattoni said. “Coleman is now in a more attacking role but we need a player who can defend and come forward and make a cross but it’s hard against the Germans or Russians to have him here.”
Ireland lost all three games in Poland, 3-1 against Croatia in Poznan, 4-0 to Spain in Gdansk and then 2-0 against Italy in Poznan and it was muted in some quarters the Italian manager need to introduced more young blood into his aging squad.
Given is not included in the party for the trip to Belgrade on August 15, along with experienced players like Robbie Keane, Damien Duff, Richard Dunne and Stephen Hunt. None of the five have indicated their international futures are over.
“I am looking forward to working with each of these players next month,” Trapattoni said of the new-look squad. “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.
“This friendly offers us a great opportunity to try out younger players ahead of our World Cup qualifying campaign. As a result, I have decided to leave some of our senior players out of the squad for this fixture.”
Midfielder Keith Andrews, who recently joined Championship outfit Bolton Wanderers, is not considered for the game as his sending off against Italy last month means he is suspended for Ireland’s first fixture of their World Cup 2014 qualifiers, against Kazakhstan in Astana on September 7.
James McCarthy, whose late grandfather Packie Coll was from Gweedore, missed Euro 2012 as his father was receiving treatment for cancer, has been recalled to the squad.
Trapattoni indicated the Wigan Athletic midfielder will fill the void of Andrews in Belgrade, with Derry native, Darron Gibson of Everton, also in contention. Another recall was Stoke City’s versatile Marc Wilson, although Norwich City duo Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington continue to be overlooked.
Another notable absentee is Kevin Foley of Wolverhampton Wanderers, who was dropped from the squad in Montecatini in Italy at Ireland’s pre-Euro 2012 training base days before they flew to Poland.
Trapattoni admitted Foley was still very upset by the decision and asked not to be considered for Serbia.
Two players Trapattoni considered, Robbie Brady of Manchester United and Everton’s Shane Duffy, whose father Brian is from Letterkenny, were not included as Noel King’s Irish U-21 side have a must-win European Championship qualifier against Turkey in Sligo on Tuesday, August 14.
Trapattoni’s Ireland will find themselves in a tough group. Germany will be the favourites to win Group C, which also includes Sweden, Austria, the Faroe Islands, as well as the Kazakhs.
Republic of Ireland squad: Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall), Darren Randolph (Motherwell), Marc Wilson (Stoke), John O’Shea (Sunderland), Sean St Ledger (Leicester), Darren O’Dea (Unattached), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Paul McShane (Hull), Glenn Whelan (Stoke), Darron Gibson (Everton), James McCarthy (Wigan), Paul Green (Leeds), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Andy Keogh (Millwall), James McClean (Sunderland), Keith Treacy (Burnley), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long and Simon Cox (both West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke).