McClean and McCarthy to start for the Republic of Ireland
Giovanni Trapattoni has named his starting XI to play Serbia in the Republic of Irelandâ€™s first friendly international since this Summerâ€™s Euro 2012.
The team showâ€™s several changes from the final match of the Euros against Spain. Keiren Westwood has been given the chance to impress in goals in the wake of Shay Givenâ€™s retirement. Team captain, John Oâ€™Shea, moves to the centre of the defence where he will partner Darren Oâ€™Dea, they will be flanked by Paul McShane and Stephen Kelly.
James McClean will start on the wing beside the returning James McCarthy who will partner Glen Whelan. Aiden McGeady retains his position on the wing and will hope to provide the ammunition for Jon Walters and Shane Long.
Giovanni Trapattoni feels that the match against Serbia tomorrow night is an ideal test for his young players and will show him their real character and aptitude for international football in an away venue. He expects them to show the same heart and identity that enabled the team to carve out results during the Euro qualification campaign and believes that same mentality is key to achieving World Cup qualification.
Asked about the significance of the match, Trapattoni responded that it represents a chance for the players to show him that they are ready for international football. The Italian believes that McCarthy is ready to start tomorrow night and has been growing as a player in recent seasons at Wigan. Trapattoni has advised him to express himself on the pitch and is confident that his technique and speed can be major attributes for the Irish team.
Trapattoni said that he had discussed the retirement of Shay with the player by phone and appreciated his offer to return if an emergency situation arose. "Our approach with Shay and the other players has always been clear and loyal. That is my philosophy as a manager and I have always been clear and loyal to my players throughout my career. When you behave like that, communication with the players is always easy."
Despite concerns, Trapattoni remains confident that the other senior players will remain on board. He indicated that there was ongoing communication with them but would only reveal that Richard Dunne's injury is unlikely to be cleared up in time for the important opening qualification match away to Kazakhstan.
Trapattoni also said that Ireland is very fortunate to have a goal keeper of the quality of Keiren Westwood to take over from Shay and believes that he is ready for the role.
Republic of Ireland Starting XI
Westwood, McShane, Oâ€™Shea (c), Oâ€™Dea, Kelly, Mcgeady, McCarthy, Whelan, McClean, Walters, Long.
Serbia v Republic of Ireland
Stadion Crvena Zvezda
15th August, 2012
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