Monday 20 October 2014

Trapattoni sees potential in Pilkington

Published 21/01/2013 | 19:50

Anthony Pilkington has impressed for Norwich this season

Giovanni Trapattoni feels Anthony Pilkington can offer a new dimension to his Ireland side after handing the Norwich winger his first senior call-up.

Pilkington is one of five uncapped players named in a 27-man squad for next month's friendly with Poland in Dublin, and Trapattoni is excited about what the 24-year-old brings to the table.

The veteran Italian said: "He is a great player with a lot of potential, and somebody that we're most interested in. We've been following him for a long time. We're obviously without Damien Duff, but he's the sort of player that has the ability to play on both the right and the left."

He added: "He's good, and well known for his goalscoring ability, and I think that will certainly add something, but it's not just that - technically he's extremely good, and tactically aware on the pitch also. This makes me really look forward to having him in the squad."

Pilkington was born in Blackburn but Trapattoni says the former Huddersfield wide man is committed to playing for Ireland, for whom he made one Under-21 appearance in 2008 and qualifies through his Irish grandmother.

Trapattoni added: "Yes, he has made it clear that he wants to play for Ireland, and that's very positive for the country- and for him. We are really looking forward to working with him."

The other newcomers in the squad are West Ham keeper Stephen Henderson and Derby trio Richard Keogh, Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon. Trapattoni said two or three of those players are likely to start the match against Poland on February 6, with Pilkington, Sammon and Hendrick in pole position.

"I wish to see their personalities. From what I have seen from them at their clubs, they have good personalities, it is very important for them to show us the same attitude and personality," said the 73-year-old coach, who was due to travel to Dublin to give a press conference on Monday but stayed in Italy following the death of his sister, Sister Romilde Trapattoni.

In what is a largely inexperienced squad, Trapattoni has left out the likes of captain Robbie Keane and Reading defender Stephen Kelly as he looks to give some of the younger players a chance to impress.

Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne, 33, has been named in the squad, but a final decision on his inclusion will be made closer to the match as he is yet to play this season because of groin and hip problems. However, there is no place for Dunne's Villa team-mate and record Ireland cap holder Shay Given.

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