Wednesday 11 December 2019

No Ireland return for Shay Given

Trapattoni turns down veteran's offer of return to Ireland fold

Shay Given
Shay Given
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

SHAY GIVEN will not be making a return under Giovanni Trapattoni after the Italian said thanks, but no thanks, to the veteran goalkeeper's offer to come out of international retirement.

The Aston Villa netminder stepped down from the national team after winning 125 caps in a 16-year career after last summer's European Championships, but after losing his place in Paul Lambert's side he had indicated that he was willing to return to the Ireland fold.

Trapattoni has named goalkeepers Keiren Westwood, David Forde and Stephen Henderson in a 27-man squad to play Poland on February 6 and said that a return for the Donegal man is not on the cards.

"No, I feel that I have to give experience to the likes of Forde, Westwood, (Darren) Randolph and certainly I have the utmost respect for Shay," Trapattoni said.

"He's made it clear that if we require him he will be there, but I have said to Shay directly that we do have an obligation to move things on and give younger players experience, it's very important that we develop that, particularly with these friendly matches.

"We're confident in Westwood's ability and we also have Forde and he gives us a good bit of confidence."

Trapattoni named five uncapped players in his squad for the final friendly before Ireland's crunch qualifiers against Sweden and Austria in March. Joining Henderson are Derby County trio Jeff Hendrick, Conor Sammon and Richard Keogh as well as Norwich City winger Anthony Pilkington.

Robbie Keane and Stephen Kelly are "rested", while Richard Dunne was named as a stand-by player ahead of his return to training with Aston Villa this week. Everton defender Seamus Coleman may yet be ruled out after picking up a thigh strain in last night's Premier League clash at Southampton.

Trapattoni had to cancel the scheduled press conference in Dublin after the death of his sister, 81-year-old nun Sister Romilde Trapattoni, in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Speaking over the phone from Italy, he said that Sean St Ledger and Marc Wilson are major doubts for the crucial double-header, but he is hopeful that Dunne can make it back to mark Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Stockholm.

"It still looks quite difficult for St Ledger and Wilson, theirs are injuries that require quite a long time," the 73-year-old said. "From Richard Dunne's point of view, it's certainly early days but it's possibly looking a little more positive. I don't know if I'd want to run the risk of playing him in February, but if he is ready we'll have a look because he will be very important to us against the threat of Ibrahimovic in March.

"We'll wait and see but it's certainly a little more positive in terms of the news that we're getting."

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