Sport Soccer

Thursday 21 November 2019

Coleman in line to start as Tardelli claims Ireland 'looking at the future'

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

THE player himself seemed to be sceptical earlier in the week, but Seamus Coleman is in with a real chance of starting tomorrow night's World Cup qualifier with Germany.

Giovanni Trapattoni makes no secret of the fact that he uses his 11 v 11 games at the end of training to try out his possible team.

Coleman was in the reserve side on Tuesday but, yesterday, he was in with the first-choice selection at right-back, with Stephen Kelly swapping to the other side.

Ireland assistant coach Marco Tardelli said a decision would be made following today's training session, but after missing out on Euro 2012, it appears that Coleman has moved up the pecking order, boosted by the fact that David Moyes has finally given him a run in his preferred position at Everton.

Kelly, by contrast is out of favour at Fulham: he is yet to see a minute of Premier League action this term.

"During training, we will understand if it's better one or the other," said Tardelli.

Speaking on Monday, Coleman (below) acknowledged that the challenge presented by the top seeds might restrict opportunities for an attack-minded full-back. Nevertheless, Tardelli suggested that he is in with a serious chance.

"We know that Kelly is more defensive, and Coleman no," he said. "We know Coleman has done well in the Premier League. Now he is starting to play at the back. We know he is a good player."

The ex-Sligo Rovers man was selected at right-full in last month's friendly win over Oman, but is still waiting to make his competitive debut for Ireland.

Tardelli feels it is time to start looking at the long term, and cited that reasoning when explaining why Conor Clifford was drafted into the squad late on Tuesday night.

The Chelsea reserve got the nod ahead of Wes Hoolahan when it emerged that Joey O'Brien was suffering with an injury. Tardelli said that 30-year-old Hoolahan was overlooked because they needed to 'look at the future'.

Tardelli acknowledged that he himself may not be around himself for the Euro 2016 campaign. But he says the selection of the likes of Robbie Brady and Clifford is with that challenge in mind.

"I don't know if I will be here," he said. "But I think it's better for the FAI that we look for the future. I saw Clifford in training today and I think he is very good for the future."

Irish Independent

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