Monday 16 October 2017

Dunne told to prove his fitness in battle for qualifiers berth

Richard Dunne is expected to line-out against Sweden
Richard Dunne is expected to line-out against Sweden
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

GIOVANNI Trapattoni has told Richard Dunne that he needs a solid month of football under his belt if he is to be considered for September's crunch World Cup qualifiers with Sweden and Austria.

The Ireland manager has left QPR's new recruit out of his squad for the friendly with Wales in Cardiff on August 14, citing concerns over the Dubliner's lack of match fitness.

He has refused to guarantee that the 33-year-old will be involved in autumn business, indicating that the player has a lot to prove following a year on the sidelines.

Dunne's new deal with QPR includes a clause that it will be torn up if his old groin problem flares up again, and it appears that another relapse would cost him his international career.

"I think he needs one month of playing and playing," said Trapattoni. "I hope for us he can come back because he is important, he has personality."

Trapattoni said it was imperative Dunne returned, but suggested that he is happy with his other central defensive options, John O'Shea, Sean St Ledger, Ciaran Clark, Darren O'Dea and Paul McShane.

The positive for Dunne is that the Championship kicks off on August 3, so he has the chance to build up a run of games ahead of the qualifiers.

Robbie Keane has been spared from the Wales trip, while Kevin Doyle remains out of favour.

Norwich's Anthony Pilkington is the only uncapped member of a 26-man party that will be trimmed.

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