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Wednesday 13 December 2017

O'Shea must put in shift to confirm fitness for Euros

JOHN O'SHEA will need to put in a solid 70 minutes in Budapest tonight to convince Giovanni Trapattoni that his calf injury will hold up to the pressure of tournament football.

Trap expects at least 70 minutes from O'Shea but even then, will wait nervously for a reaction overnight before relaxing about a calf injury which has been hanging around like a bad smell for three weeks.

"For John, I think 70 minutes would be enough. You never know with an injury and we won't know until the game is finished how well he is," said Trap.

Shay Given too must walk a tightrope after his Saturday scare which he explained was bad blistering in his big toe.

Trapattoni believes that his players have excelled in preparation during the spell in Montecatini and that Ireland will reap the benefits of this in the coming weeks.

"We could play with our eyes closed. When we need to change, the other players play the same and I am very, very happy with this," he said.

"I have already said that the team which will start against Hungary is the same as the one to start against Croatia unless there are unexpected circumstances.

"The same team without injury can start in all three games. Obviously, the first game is very, very important," added Trapattoni.

He is not a bit worried about the possibility that by naming his team so early, Slaven Bilic will have extra time to do his homework well.

"We have a scout at every game, every official game. The other managers watch our team. They know all about us and we know all about them so another 90 minutes will not make a difference.

"These days in football so many goals come from set-pieces and I have to use my first-team to try out the set-pieces," he claimed.

Aware that competition within his squad is fierce, Trapattoni is not concerned that the early declaration of his team could have a negative impact on those who don't play.

"Maybe in the second half tonight I will try other solutions. All the other players' fitness is good and there is a moment when I must choose well to preserve the condition."

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