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Saturday 16 December 2017

Kelly hopeful Brazil showing enough to cement right-back berth for Trap

FULHAM man Stephen Kelly hopes that he did enough in Tuesday's friendly defeat to Brazil to show Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni that he's good enough to start in defence in the qualifying campaign.

The Brazil match was Kelly's 16th senior cap and the 2012 European Championship qualifiers will be his third qualifying campaign (he made his competitive debut in the 1-1 draw at home to the Czech Republic three and a half years ago).

Kelly knows he only got a run as our established right full, John O'Shea, was out injured, but with no set date for O'Shea's return from injury, Kelly prays that he has established himself ahead of people like Steve Finnan and Kevin Foley for the right-back slot.

"I was happy with how I did on a personal level. Every cap is important for me as it's a chance to show what I can do, show the manager what I am capable of and hopefully I did that on Tuesday night," said Kelly.

"With John O'Shea out now there is a chance for someone else to come in. John has made the right-back position his own over the last couple of years and it's difficult for anyone to shift someone like that, a Manchester United player.

"But I have to take the chances when they come along and hopefully I made an impression on Tuesday.

"It was a very good performance from us in the first half but the goal was a kick in the teeth.

"That goal gave Brazil confidence for the second half and they really came at us. I think they took us to school a little bit in the second half. We caused ourselves problems with a silly mistake and that was a pity.

"We got caught on the ball and it was a lack of concentration which caused us problems. But that's what friendlies are for, to make mistakes and learn from them. I'm sure the lads who made those mistakes against Brazil the other night will learn from them," he added.

"But you have to give the credit to the Brazilians, they moved around well, they caused us problems, but overall it was a positive performance from us. They have the kind of team that can win the World Cup; they have good players who can change a game in an instant.

"That's what you need to win a World Cup: when things are not going your way and you might not be playing that well you can create something from nothing with a bit of brilliance, and Brazil have that," said Kelly, who is in line to face his former club Tottenham in FA Cup action on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Stephen Ward admits he was disappointed not to make the cut for Ireland's friendly against Brazil, but the Wolves star has vowed to keep working in a bid to catch Giovanni Trapattoni's eye.

Ward has made 16 first-team appearances for Wolves this season despite being out for three months due to a knee injury, but he was still omitted from the 23-man squad for the London friendly, Manchester City rookie Greg Cunningham brought in as cover at left back for Kevin Kilbane.

"I looked at the squad because I knew it was named on the Monday and I was disappointed not to be in it.

"It would have been nice to have seen my name, but I quickly put it to the back of my mind. My priority is Wolves, and trying to help us stay in the Premier League, first and foremost," Ward said.

"But when people have asked me about it, I got a sense of what it would be like to be selected. All I'll be doing is keeping plugging away and trying to do things right for the club and, if I carry on doing that and working hard, hopefully I will get a chance.

"It's one of those things -- I wasn't too upset about it -- I had a look at the squad and moved on," added Ward, already capped at U21 and B levels.

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