Gibson could still figure in Sweden match – Tardelli

Paul Hyland

MARCO Tardelli kept a straight face when he said that Darron Gibson would be available when it comes time to name Ireland's squad for crunch World Cup qualifiers against Sweden and Austria in March.

But it wouldn't be the first time that Tardelli has decided to run with a remarkably optimistic assessment of a difficult situation.

On many occasions in the past, Tardelli has blithely informed the waiting nation of his absolute belief in a player's fitness while the man involved was having a cast put on.

Perhaps an exaggeration but nevertheless a warning not to take his words on Gibson (below) too seriously because it may well be that the Derryman still has other plans.


"When David Meyler told us that he was going back home, myself and Giovanni spoke with Darron and he told us that he has played just one match and he would prefer to stay at home.

"He has a little problem after the match but I think Darron wanted to come here with us. The next match, maybe yes," said Tardelli.

Further questioning established that Everton are on a warm weather break in Malaga. "He said, 'I have a little problem'. He is not available for this match. He was in Malaga because there is a little training camp with Everton.

"But it's no problem to come for another match," repeated Tardelli leaving no room for misunderstanding.

Tardelli also revealed that Trapattoni has urged Keiren Westwood to find a new club and gave him the message some time ago.

"He tried, but Martin O'Neill decided that it was better that he stayed at Sunderland, and Giovanni can't do anything about that. For me, it would have been better if he had moved."

Like his boss, Tardelli welcomed Shay Given's offer to turn up if needed but stopped well short of an open invitation.

"We know Shay Given loves to play with us and this is very important because other players, maybe they don't love to play for the Irish team. This is very important. If we need him, maybe it's possible.

"Forde is a good goalkeeper. He played against Italy and to play against Italy is very hard, and he played well. e has big experience and I don't worry about him. I worry about Westwood because he doesn't play in his team, but not Forde."