Trap looks ahead to Thomond Park friendly
Giovanni Trapattoni unveiled his 24-man squad Republic of Ireland squad for the upcoming friendly Australia on Wednesday, August 12th and urged his team to produce a performance befitting the fabulous Thomond Park arena. Not since 1985 when Flower Lodge in Cork hosted the friendly against Spain has a home International being staged outside of Dublin. And Trap is determined to ensure his players mark the occasion of the first-ever International played at the home of Munster Rugby, Thomond Park with a polished display. Trapattoni was at the Limerick venue today to announce his squad for the friendly against the Socceroos. He said: "It will be important to win and produce a great performance in this famous stadium. Hopefully, the stadium will be full of fans. "This will not be an easy game against Australia but I am confident. It is important that can get the players together so we see their condition ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Cyrpus game in September. "I hope we can get a good result. It helps for the future and it helps the players believe that qualification for the World Cup is possible." Ireland's encouraging Group 8 qualification campaign to date has put them on course for a high finish in the table with the three remaining matches of the series to be played by October. It is for this reason the Ireland manager is keen to emphasise the crucial nature of this fixture despite not all his players being back in competitive club action at that stage. "This is the start of the season and it gives us the chance to review what made the team last season. "Normally all countries look for a friendly game at this time. Leagues start at different times. For example, the English Championship will be started by this match but the Premier League does begin a few days later on August 15. The match against a good Australia side is of utmost importance to our squad as it acts as our final game ahead our trip to Nicosia for the Cyprus match."I have watched Australia's games on DVD. I feel that they are a similar team to United States, with the same type of mentality. "They have many experienced players playing in Europe, with Scott McDonald playing in Scotland (for Celtic). It will be a test for our players." Trapattoni's selection reflects kindly on those players capped for the first time in the friendly match against Nigeria in May. Newcomers for that game at Craven Cottage - Kevin Foley, Eddie Nolan, Sean St. Ledger, Liam Lawrence and Leon Best - all retain their places in the panel with the manager expressing his satisfaction with their introductions to the senior International fray. Meanwhile, Steven Reid has been named on the stand-by list. While this is an indication of the progress made on his comeback trail from injury, Trap admitted the Blackburn Rovers man is still working on regaining his fitness. Reid's physicality and quality made him a key player in the opening two qualifiers last September until a knee injury ended his season. Trap said: "I spoke with Steven and he is only training at the moment, not playing games yet. Our Doctor is in contact with his colleagues in the clubs and it's important Steven does not come back too early. He may not be ready for the Cyprus game but I hope so for the October matches (against Italy and Montenegro)." Trapattoni also confirmed there was contact between Stephen Ireland and himself last month and the Manchester City player could yet feature during the remainder of the qualifying campaign. "He has said he wishes to come back," said the Italian. "He is young and I hope he decides yes. In my mind, at the moment it is still 50/50."
30th Jul 2009