FAI willing to consider Pennant
Published 08/03/2011 | 15:16
Republic of Ireland chiefs would consider Jermaine Pennant's desire to play international football if he made contact.
The 28-year-old Stoke winger, who has represented England at Under-21 level, has admitted he has given up hope of winning senior caps for the country of his birth and indicated he wants to turn instead to Ireland, for whom he believes he qualifies through his grandfather.
Press Association Sport understands there has been no contact between the player and the Football Association of Ireland, but that his claims would be evaluated if he got in touch.
Pennant's comments came in an interview with the Stoke Sentinel.
He said: "My grandad is Irish, so there's a chance I can play for them. I'm not getting any younger and I would like to play international football.
"And who's to say Ireland can't get to the next World Cup? If I could be a part of that, then it would be great.
"Of course, I would love to play for England, but it has never happened and I don't think it is going to.
"That's not because of my ability, but maybe misdemeanours in the past have put a halt to that coming about."
Nottingham-born Pennant, whose former clubs include Arsenal, Birmingham and Liverpool, was jailed in 2005 for a drink-driving offence and at one point, played a game wearing an electronic tag following his release.
He has since rebuilt his career and is currently back in England after a spell with Real Zaragoza in Spain.
Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has worked hard to increase the depth of his squad during his time in charge with Pennant's Stoke team-mates Glenn Whelan, Marc Wilson and Jon Walters among the beneficiaries.
However, the Italian is currently well served for wide midfielders with Damien Duff, Aiden McGeady, Liam Lawrence, Stephen Hunt, Keith Fahey and Andy Keogh having all played there for their country and Everton youngster Seamus Coleman emerging as a real talent.
Trapattoni's men resume their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign at home to Macedonia later this month having endured mixed fortunes to date.
Victories over Armenia and Andorra were followed by a defeat at the hands of Russia and a draw in Slovakia, and that has left them in second place in Group B behind the Russians, but only on goal difference.
Ireland finished behind then reigning champions Italy in World Cup qualification and eventually missed out on a trip to last summer's finals in South Africa after a controversial play-off defeat by France.