CARETAKER Ireland manager Noel King has stayed true to his promise of wiping the slate clean from the Giovanni Trapattoni era by calling Andy Reid, Darron Gibson, Anthony Stokes and Kevin Doyle into the squad for the concluding World Cup qualifiers with Germany and Kazakhstan.
Stoke midfielder Stephen Ireland was also in line for a return but King was informed the player is still building his fitness at his new club and didn't feel ready at this point in time, although he is keen on ending his international exile. “From what I gather, he wants to play for Ireland again, which is great,” said King.
Gibson's return comes as no surprise, with Reid the surprise inclusion in the panel after a five-year absence.
The Nottingham Forest midfielder has been in sparkling form at Championship level this term and King had no hesitation about extending a call to the 31-year-old.
“I didn't get a chance to speak to Andy, but I'll ring him today,” said King. “He seems to be doing very well, I've made enquiries about him. He's trimmed down, in good condition and I like him as a player, he's technically very smart, internationally smart, so I'll be glad to have him in the group.”
King has spoken to Celtic striker Stokes who is preparing for a Champions League date with Barcelona tomorrow. He has worked with the Dubliner at U21 level and feels he adds variety of the striking department.
Doyle has dropped to League One with Wolves, but King believes he has the quality to make an impact and has given Stokes and the Wexford native the nod ahead of Simon Cox and Conor Sammon who were both favourites of Trapattoni and miss out here.
Ukrainian based defender Darren O'Dea has also been cut from the 26 man panel despite the unavailability of John O'Shea and Richard Dunne for the Germany test – they will come back in for the Kazakhstan fixture in Dublin.
Injury doubts linger over Robbie Brady and Jon Walters but King, who is planning a different tactical approach to Trapattoni, reckons he has the depth in the squad to cope with a couple of withdrawals.
Ireland Squad: Forde [Millwall], Westwood [Sunderland], Randolph [Birmingham], O'Brien [West Ham], St Ledger [Leicester], Wilson [Stoke], Coleman [Everton], Kelly [Reading], Clark [Aston Villa], McShane [Hull], Gibson [Everton], Whelan [Stoke], McCarthy [Everton], Green [Leeds], Reid [Nottingham Forest], McGeady [Spartak Moscow], Pilkington [Norwich], McClean [Wigan], Brady [Hull], Quinn [Hull], Hoolahan [Norwich], Long [WBA], Keane [LA Galaxy], Walters [Stoke], Doyle [Wolves], Stokes [Celtic] – O'Shea [Sunderland] and Dunne [QPR] will join squad for Kazakhstan game.
By Daniel McDonnell