Sunday 19 November 2017

Anthony Pilkington in line for shock Ireland start

Anthony Pilkington
Anthony Pilkington
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Marco Tardelli has suggested that Anthony Pilkington could be in line for a surprise involvement in Friday's World Cup qualifier with Sweden, despite having no international experience.

The Norwich midfielder has trained with the Irish squad for the first time after refusing five previous call-ups due to injuries.

Giovanni Trapattoni had indicated that his unfamiliarity with the regime's favoured system might work against Pilkington, but in the absence of Aiden McGeady, the 25-year-old is under consideration.

"Everybody here can play. I know him very well because I followed him many times and I am very happy to see him face to face because we called him up five times and he is a good player," Tardelli said. "He can play in the midfield, he can play left, sometimes he scores a goal, sometimes he can take the free-kicks. I think he's a good player."

With Jon Walters likely to start on the right side of midfield, it appears to be a choice between James McClean, Robbie Brady and Pilkington for the other flank.

Long farce costs Hull €10,000

Steve Bruce is furious with West Bromwich Albion after his £5m move for Shane Long was scrapped 70 minutes before the transfer deadline.

Bruce's club-record bid to sign the Ireland international collapsed on a final day of drama to leave Hull City frustrated – and with a £10,000 bill.

Hull had paid for a private plane to whisk Long away from Ireland's team hotel in Malahide before flying him to Leeds-Bradford Airport to meet Bruce, before undergoing a medical in Leeds.

Long had already agreed personal terms before Bruce was informed the deal was off by Albion at 9.50 on Monday, leaving the Irish international feeling further disillusioned with West Brom.

The 26-year-old has been in negotiations over a new contract since Christmas, but talks are believed to have stalled.

Albion head coach Steve Clarke will now press for talks to be stepped up this month as he prepares to reintegrate Long back into his first-team squad.

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