Trapattoni names starting eleven for Tuscany XI friendly
Giovanni Trapattoni will test Shane Long on the wing in tonight’s game against a Tuscany Select XI in Pistoia.
The game, which will raise money for charity, as well as help match-sharpen some of the Irish fringe players, will see Trapattoni deploy Shane Long and Stephen Hunt on the wings with a forward partnership of Jonathan Walters and Simon Cox.
Keiren Westwood, Richard Dunne, Stephen Ward, and Darron Gibson are the only players to keep their places after starting the 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Stephen Kelly will partner Dunne in central defence, while Kevin Foley or Paul McShane have been mentioned at right-back.
In midfield, Long and Hunt will be the widemen, and Paul Green starts alongside Darron Gibson, after being drafted in as a late replacement for the injured Keith Fahey.
Darren O’Dea and Paul McShane miss out through minor knocks, while Trap is thought to be resting Aiden McGeady and Robbie Keane. However, James McClean is likely to be introduced from the bench. John O’Shea is ruled out, but the Ireland boss hopes he will recover in time for Monday’s friendly with Hungary.
Trapattoni spoke of the withdrawal of Fahey and the inclusion of Green, saying how disappointed the Birmingham City midfielder was at having to drop out of the squad so close to the Euro 2012 finals. “Surely he wasn’t happy,” Trapattoni said. “But he felt the injury again, and it was better that we recovered another fit player. The other players were sad for him, but they were also happy they won the game. There is the moment to give regards and we will see Keith again in August, in the future. In this moment, we have to concentrate.”
Trapattoni admits to having a difficult decision about calling up Green: “I thought very, very long about putting him in the squad. I spoke with Marco Tardelli about him. He is a particular type of player, who has a good mentality and attitude. He doesn’t permit the other team’s playmakers to relax and get on the ball. This is important. I know the reporters don’t like him. You only like the players who [entertaining].”
The friendly between the Republic of Ireland and a Tuscan selection takes place tonight in Pitroia at 20.30 local time (19.30 Irish time).