Saturday 21 April 2018

Given will be back for key Macedonia clash -- Kelly

Cathal Dervan

Shay Given has told Giovanni Trapattoni to count him in for the European Championship clash with Macedonia in June -- but Paddy Kenny has yet to seek an international return.

Irish goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly confirmed in Dublin yesterday that Given will be fit in time for the Carling Nations Cup games at the end of May and the tricky Euro qualifier in Skopje at the start of June.

Given is back in full training with Manchester City after undergoing a second shoulder operation in February and expects to be on the bench for the FA Cup final against Stoke.

The Donegal native will be named in the Ireland squad for the end-of-season games when Trapattoni attends a press conference in Athlone on Wednesday.

“Shay sent a message this week to tell us that he is back in full training and doing very well,” said Kelly at the annual Dublin Docklands Coaching for Kids festival.

“He is fighting fit once again and looking forward to getting back on the field with City and with Ireland.

“I will be very surprised if he’s not on the bench for City for the FA Cup final against Stoke and back for Ireland in the games at the end of next month, which is great news for us.”

One player who won’t feature in the squad to play Northern Ireland, Scotland and Macedonia is QPR ’keeper Kenny.

Last capped by Steve Staunton in the disastrous 5-2 defeat to Cyprus almost five years ago, Kenny made it clear at the start of the season that he wants to maintain his international exile.

He was a surprise omission from the squad that beat Macedonia in March when Given was injured, but Kelly has now revealed just why Trap ignored Kenny’s comeback claims.

“I had conversations with Paddy at the start of the season when he said he didn’t want to be considered for a return to the Ireland squad, so you’ll have to ask him,” said Kelly.

“It’s not a case of us saying anyone is ruled out or in, but if someone has effectively ruled themselves out and said nothing? As far as I am aware he is still unavailable. I’ve not had a text to make him available.”

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