Trapattoni welcomes opportunity to introduce new players into squad

Trapattoni welcomes opportunity to introduce new players into squad

Giovanni Trapattoni has unveiled his extended 25 man squad for next week's friendly against Nigeria, stating he will use the game to add some International experience to his younger members. The squad will be trimmed down to 22 for the vital World Cup qualifier away to Bulgaria on June 6.
18th May 2009
Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni today predicted that the rigours of a long season at club level will necessitate some changes to his regular team for the friendly against Nigeria at Craven Cottage on Friday week, May 29 (8pm).

Manchester United pair John O’Shea and Darron Gibson, both of whom were included in the extended squad of 25 players, will follow up Sunday’s final Premier League game with the UEFA Champions League final in Rome two days before Ireland face the Super Eagles.

It’s also been a prolonged campaign for those players involved in play-off action and Trapattoni pointed to Reading’s exertions, which ended on last Monday, as an example.

Looking ahead to next week’s warm-up game for the World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria eight days later, the manager said: “I think a few players will need a rest. I saw the Reading players and they look a bit tired.

“O’Shea and Gibson for Manchester United too, the season has been heavy for them. I think they must rest for the important game against Bulgaria.

“This game will be the most important of the qualifiers because, for Bulgaria, it is their last opportunity of qualifying. We will try to win the game but if we cannot, we must not lose. We must try to keep the distance.”

Kevin Doyle’s calf injury, sustained in the recent play-off semi-final against Burnley, makes the Reading striker a major doubt for both matches.

Trap has included the Wexford man in his squad but insisted the player's fitness will dictate whether he’ll feature.

“Only if we are 100 per cent sure will we decide if he can play. We don’t have a sure answer yet but I know this is a very dangerous muscular injury.”

With six uncapped players in the panel, four of whom are receiving their debut call-ups, Trap indicated there could be ample scope to assess his options.

He said: “I will look for new players. We can make five substitutions and a goalkeeper change in this friendly game and I wish to use this opportunity to try out these players.

“I know what (Caleb) Folan can do. He has already played two games for us, the last one against Italy in Bari.

“I like his mentality and he fits into our system. He is big and can hold the ball up, which is very important in International football.”

Trapattoni likened Folan’s style to that of newcomer Leon Best, the Coventry City striker who make the senior squad for the first time. 22-years old Best previously played at various underage grades for Ireland and won his last International cap at Under-21 level against Montenegro in March 2007.

“I saw Leon playing many times,” he said. “He plays like Folan…he’s physical…and this will be a test for him.”

There’s also a maiden call-up under Trap’s tenure for Liam Lawrence, whose been formidable in Stoke City's impresive campaign back in the English Premier League this term.

"We have McGeady, Duff, Hunt, Keogh and he (Lawrence) is has something different. He is very solid," said Trap.

“He can play right or can play left and is, for me, an ideal substitute like (Stephen) Hunt. He is different to Duff, has a good mentality and personality.”