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Tardelli calms lingering fears as Duffy gets back on his feet

ANY lingering concerns about Shane Duffy were firmly put to one side by Republic of Ireland assistant boss Marco Tardelli following a visit to see the recovering defender.

Giovanni Trapattoni wound down the pace yesterday, and players and staff took the opportunity to make two social calls: the first to the Aviva Stadium and the second to see Duffy.

"After the visit to the stadium, we went in to see Shane and he was up. It's still a very big emotion for everyone because he was a young player and we were very worried," he said.

Tardelli revealed that skipper Robbie Keane spent some time in Duffy's company, an excellent source of reassurance for the young Everton prospect.

"Shane is good now, he feels well and sometimes he walks," said Tardelli. "He has been speaking and joking with his family.

"He spoke a lot with Robbie Keane today -- he prefers Robbie Keane to us! It was very emotional. He told us that he hopes to be back playing football in four or five months. But I hope it's before that."

Tardelli gave a brief roll-call of available options for tomorrow's tussle with Algeria and revealed that Paul McShane had left the squad for a family wedding.


That and other knocks and bruises could open the door for some of Trapattoni's training camp kids to step up to a starting role.

"Robbie Keane has a knock, and Liam Lawrence. Anthony Stokes had to stay in the hotel with an allergy," said Tardelli.

New recruit Paul Green has a slight groin strain, and left training attached to a large icepack, but should be fit to play.

McShane's absence could open up a door for Celtic's Darren O'Dea (inset), who would like nothing more than to finish his season with a full cap, but Tardelli suggested that Trap has other options as well.

"Darren is like all the players, he works hard," claimed Tardelli. "We know that he is a good player, but we have other players at the back."

One of those is Greg Cunningham, whose work in the training camp has impressed everyone and could be rewarded with action against the Algerians.

Tardelli is concerned about fitness levels going into the second game of the week at the RDS and reckons that the 10-day break for senior players could yet catch up on them.

"We need to improve physically. After 10 days holiday it was difficult against Paraguay -- but I hope we stay strong," he said.

Tardelli and Trapattoni were delighted with the win over the South Africa-bound South Americans and the Irish No2 underlined how good Paraguay have been in the last year or two.

"Paraguay is a very good team.

"They beat Brazil and they were third in the qualification table -- they are a very good team and we were without three of our big players so, yes, we're happy."