KEVIN DOYLE has admitted that he could start Ireland's Euro 2012 opener with Croatia on the bench despite Giovanni Trapattoni's assertion that the team that began Monday's friendly with Hungary will kick off proceedings in Poznan.
The Wexford man insists that he isn't reading too much into Trapattoni's comments, because the manager is aware that his words will make it back to the Croatia camp.
Doyle has struggled with his form this year at Wolves but, in an exclusive interview with the Irish Independent, he says that the change of scenery and a couple of weeks in a different environment have brought him back to his best.
However, he is conscious of the increased competition in the striking department, and says that he won't believe that he's in the side until the day itself.
"I wouldn't read 100pc into what he's been saying (in the press). I'm sure he's saying stuff to get back to Croatia," said Doyle (28). "We'll see. The team isn't officially named until an hour and a half before kick-off. We've competition for places, and up front, whoever has played seems to have done reasonably well. If one of us ain't playing well, he's pretty quick to bring someone else.
"I just want to play. I've had six years in or around playing most of the games, and I don't want to miss out when it comes to this. All I can do is enjoy training, feel fit and sharp, so if I play, then, fantastic. If I don't, I'll be ready when I come off the bench. I'll do whatever is asked."
Trapattoni has generally opted for Doyle when he has been available. The exception was last September's qualifier with Slovakia, where he opted for Shane Long -- only for the Tipp man to then suffer an injury. At the time, the Italian said he didn't believe that Doyle had recovered from a knee problem and, while that assessment caused consternation at his club, the player now admits the 73-year-old was correct.
"I didn't want to admit it at the time, but he was right," he said. "But he's said to me the other day that, looking at me, he feels I'm 100pc now, and it's always nice to hear."