Ireland boss sweats on Given form as Westwood ruled out for Macedonia clash
Published 06/05/2011 | 05:00
GIOVANNI Trapattoni is relying on Shay Given's powers of recovery after Keiren Westwood was ruled out of Ireland's Euro 2012 qualifier with Macedonia in June.
Westwood deputised for the absent Given in the win over the Macedonians in March, but a shoulder problem means he will be unable to join up for the end-of-season internationals.
Therefore, Trapattoni is depending on Given making a swift return to form from the shoulder issue that added injury to the insult of a season spent in the background at Manchester City.
The only game that the Donegal man has played in 2011 thus far is the Carling Nations Cup win over Wales in February.
He has told Irish goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly that he expects to be on the bench for tomorrow week's FA Cup final and would therefore be in line to take part in the remaining Carling games with Northern Ireland and Scotland.
However, Trapattoni must decide whether to mind the veteran 'keeper in case he picks up an injury ahead of the trip to Skopje on June 4.
The FAI confirmed Westwood's unavailability last night, although his club manager Andy Thorn had indicated earlier in the day that he might be fit to take part in their concluding game of the season with Norwich this weekend.
Motherwell's Darren Randolph has been called up to replace Westwood, with Millwall's David Forde set to take the No 2 slot behind Given.
West Brom's Simon Cox has also officially been drafted into the panel. Cox, a versatile attacker who has been in and out of the team at the Hawthorns this term, qualifies by virtue of a Galway-born grandmother. The 24-year-old previously lined out for Reading and Swindon.
Meanwhile, Damien Duff's absence was confirmed with the news from Fulham that the 32-year-old has already undergone Achilles surgery.