herald

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Trap tipping Given to be in the frame for Armenia

GIOVANNI Trapattoni is keeping in close contact with Shay Given and is confident that the Republic of Ireland's most important player over the past decade will be fit to face the new season in three months' time.

"He wishes to be ready for the new season in August," said Trapattoni. "It will be important that he undergoes physiotherapy, but his character gives me no doubt. His mentality is also strong and it's important if a player wants to come back."

Trapattoni can only wait to see what he has to pick from when the autumn rolls around, and that means he will focus fully on Keiren Westwood, the first in line to replace Given.

"We appreciate very much Westwood because we have followed him in the past and think of him for the future, even though Shay is still young," said Trapattoni. "He has a great personality, is physically strong and can give us security. The two friendly games are very important for him and for the team."

Trap is hoping for a morale bounce among his young hopefuls, but he knows he has work to do to erase old habits, just as he did when he gathered his first training squad in Portugal.

"I hope the new players here can give us energy," Trapattoni said. "I came in the last two days and I see they have habits from their clubs. They cannot change immediately.

"I wanted to organise this camp to have the opportunity to see some new players but some players have ended their seasons with muscular problems.

"It's a pity about the bad injury to (David) Meyler because it's an occasion to look at new opportunities. When we start the next qualification campaign we have not got much time to prepare.

"But still, what I saw was very interesting over the last two days. It's important players like Keith Fahey and Paul Green stay with us.

"I know their quality, but when they play with us we have another system to play."

Rep of Ireland XI (v Ireland U23): Westwood (Coventry); McShane (Hull), O'Dea (Celtic), Duffy (Everton), Nolan (Preston)/Cunningham (Man City); Lawrence (Stoke), Fahey (Birmingham), Green (Derby), Long (Reading); Best (Newcastle), Sheridan (Celtic).

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