Stearman ready to throw in his lot with Ireland
WOLVES defender Richard Stearman is moving closer to a first call-up to Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland squad. The 25-year-old won four England U-21 caps but wants to pursue an international career with Ireland.
Stearman has been on the FAI's radar for some time, with his Wolves team-mate Kevin Doyle revealing two years ago that the defender was keen on switching allegiance as he qualifies through a grandparent on his mother's side.
In February, the player said he was looking to secure his passport and citizenship, and it's understood that the process has accelerated in recent weeks.
However, it's not certain that Trapattoni will call him into the squad for next month's friendly with Wales. The Italian is due to name his panel on Friday week around the FAI's AGM in Wicklow and has an abundance of options in the defensive department.
Stearman can play at right-back and centre-half and with Seamus Coleman firmly established in the former position, he would come into competition with regular squad members John O'Shea, Ciaran Clark, Sean St Ledger, Darren O'Dea and the returning Richard Dunne – who is leaning towards a switch to QPR – in the heart of the defence.
There are other contenders too, with Richard Keogh and Damien Delaney deployed there in the friendly win over Georgia last month, Paul McShane keen to establish himself in that role as opposed to full-back, and Reading's Alex Pearce also looking to force his way back into the picture.
League One football would do nothing to enhance Stearman's claims but it's anticipated that he will leave Wolves this summer, with former boss Mick McCarthy keen to bring him to Ipswich.
Stearman spent the second half of last season on loan at Portman Road, thus missing out on the final part of his employers' second successive relegation.