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Orthodox tactics would only hold back Hoolahan

MARCO Tardelli (pictured) said it all when he answered the now-statutory query about team shape with a short sentence: "Against Georgia, we will play like we play against England."

He meant it as a good thing and it's true, Ireland had energy, commitment, decent concentration and Seamus Coleman against England.

Just 24 hours earlier, Trapattoni agreed that he would pick his most experimental team yet for tomorrow's friendly against Georgia at the Aviva, but he had something different in mind than his questioner.

Ireland have been playing like they played against England for most of the last five years so Giovanni Trapattoni won't be playing jazz solos with his team selection.

There will be no change in the orthodoxy and, if anything, it could become a graveyard for the one man everyone feels has something different to offer – Wes Hoolahan.

Trapattoni has his little tricks and one he has used early and often is to throw a player he doesn't really fancy into a game out of position and then point a knowing finger and shrug "I told you so".

He cut straight to the point with Andy Reid but when James McCarthy first emerged, Trapattoni suggested that he could only ever play as a second striker. He tried him there in a desultory sort of way and then exiled him to the Under 21s.

James McClean was given some sort of nebulous instruction to play in central midfield against Serbia in Belgrade last August and with a dismissive word or two, Trapattoni consigned the Derryman and any thoughts of a different approach after Euro 2012 to the bin. A nice double-whammy.

Trapattoni has been talking about changing things for a year now and Hoolahan is the name he uses most frequently to illustrate his thoughts.

But there's always a reason not to play him; always an excuse which makes it too risky.

Trapattoni told us on Thursday that he could play Hoolahan as one of two in central midfield against Georgia. The notion of a five-man midfield was never mentioned and most of the journalists have given up asking. Tardelli's response closed the door on the debate.

Ireland will play like they did against England and every other country along the way. The only variable is the players.

Tardelli didn't have much else to say. This is about as low key a friendly international as you can get for early June and with Dublin in action today, the national focus will be on other events.

Robbie Brady provided the main news item, ruled out of the Georgia game – and the June 7 World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands too – by a groin injury.

"Robbie has a little problem and I think tomorrow, he will go back home. It's not a very big problem, but it's better he rests," said Tardelli.

Marc Wilson will start against Georgia to prove his fitness but he revealed later that he will not be going to New York because he needs to have a plate removed from his leg which may be a factor in ongoing injury problems.

Tardelli confirmed that David Forde will rest for the Georgia game and Kieren Westwood, now firmly cast in the understudy role, will get a chance to blow off the cobwebs.

Westwood needs a change of scenery or someone to pay big bucks for Simon Mignolet and with Richard Dunne, will be broadcasting a version of Ireland's Got Talent.

"Richard Dunne is fit. Against Georgia, it is possible he plays a few minutes. I don't know if it will be in the first half or the second, but it's possible he plays.

"We need to see the new players.

"They deserve to play against Georgia in the friendly match, and we need to try also Wilson, because there is the match against the Faroe Islands and we want to see if he is well or not," added Tardelli.

Upbeat to a fault, Tardelli wants to surf the wave created in Wembley: "The players showed us that they are good players with big personality, and the mood is good at this moment. They are ready for the new phase against Georgia.

"The players learned that they are good players. We have very young players who improved a lot against England and we know now we have a team for the future."


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