Coleman has fingers crossed

Seamus Coleman will report for training with the Republic of Ireland squad today ahead of Saturday’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia at the Aviva Stadium.

Seamus Coleman will report for training with the Republic of Ireland squad today ahead of Saturday’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia at the Aviva Stadium.

The 22-year-old opened the scoring against Fulham at Goodison Park on Saturday in a 2-1 win in the Premier League with a well-placed header following a left-wing cross from Leon Osman. Louis Saha doubled the advantage for David Moyes’ team, who had a nervous conclusion following a goal from Fulham’s Clint Dempsey.

“It’s what we wanted, especially going into the international break,” Coleman said of the win. “We wanted to go away on a high so we can come back on a high.

“The win was very important. There was a good buzz in the changing rooms and everyone will head away with their countries in high spirits. It wouldn’t be nice going away with a defeat so it’s exactly what we wanted.”

The former Sligo Rovers player then enjoyed a brief return to Killybegs and would’ve been happy to see his local St Catherine’s FC posting a 3-0 win against Dunlewey Celtic, as well as learning his good friend Jason Noctor made his inter-county bow for Donegal in their fine win in Derry in the National Football League.

After a solid debut last month against Wales in the Carling Nations Cup on the right of midfield, Coleman might be required at the back as Manchester United’s John O’Shea withdrew from the squad having picked up a hamstring injury against Olympique Marseille last week and question marks remain over the fitness of Aston Villa’s Richard Dunne.

Two other players with Donegal connections - Ciaran Clark, also of Villa, and Aiden McGeady from Spartak Moscow - are tipped to start. Another player who qualifies for the Irish team is James McCarthy, in his case through a grandfather that was born in Gweedore.

Glasgow-born McCarthy pulled out of the Wales squad as he was only returning after three months out with an ankle injury, but a rigmarole followed and it was claimed the Wigan Athletic midfielder would switch his allegiances to Scotland.

However, having spoken publicly about the debacle for the first time, the 20-year-old has set the record straight.

“I’ve had to contend with this for a few years,” he said of his international future. “But it has really all stemmed from other people wanting it to happen. I am, and will remain, a Republic of Ireland player. I hope to play against Macedonia next weekend and that will put any talk of Scotland to bed once and for all.

“It reached new levels, went too far really, when I withdrew from the Ireland squad to play Wales. It was all above board. I was not long back in the Wigan team after three months out with an ankle injury and I was still taking things slowly as I didn’t want to risk anything. But this became a huge story and all the talk of me playing for Scotland resurfaced.

“My phone never stopped ringing. I’ve never received so many text messages and listened to so many voicemails. It was mental really. I’ve never been so popular!

“Trapattoni flew across to England to see me and we met at a hotel. He wanted to look me in the eye and ask if I was happy and committed to Ireland. I told him I was happy and wanted to play for him. It was a good meeting. We were both satisfied at the end of it. I appreciate the interest from Scotland but don’t want to go back on my word.”