Cudicini joins Boys in Green
UNCAPPED at senior level by his native Italy, former Premier League star Carlo Cudicini will live out the next phase of his international ambitions with Ireland as he's come on board as goalkeeping coach with the Republic's U21 side.
Noel King's side are today in Waterford preparing for tomorrow's game against Andorra at the RSC, the opening game of the qualifiers for the 2017 European Championship finals.
With long-serving keeper coach Alan O'Neill no longer available due to work commitments, boss King has looked beyond the Pale to add to his staff and Cudicini, 41, is now on the payroll.
"It's great to have the chance to come in and his this experience," says Cudicini, who had a long career in England (1999-2013) with Chelsea and Spurs.
"I will work with the squad for this game tomorrow and hopefully carry on into the next one as well. I have been working with QPR but it was a no-brainer for me to come here and get as much experience as I can. I played for Italy at underage level but I never got a senior cap as people like Buffon and Toldo were ahead of me."
Cudicini's Irish involvement began last year when he came to Dublin on a course for his UEFA coaching badges (ex-internationals Gary Doherty and Michael Doyle were among his class-mates), Dublin his choice after tip from former team-mate Robbie Keane.
"Robbie is a good friend and he's the reason I came here first," says Cuducini, who also played with Keane at LA Galaxy and is this week helping Irish keepers Ian Lawlor (Manchester City) and Danny Rogers (Aberdeen) prepare for the Andorra tie.
King said: "It's great to have a man of his experience available to us, I know the players will enjoy it".
He had to change some of his plans for tomorrow due to injury as Niall Keown (Reading) and Bradley Garmston (WBA) have withdrawn from the squad, with Reading duo Sean Long and Pierce Sweeney called up.